ISLAMABAD, Sep 28 (APP): Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, reaffirming Pakistan’s support for a peaceful, stable, united, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan, on Friday stressed that mistakes of the past should not be repeated; nor past history may dictate the future course of action.
He underlined that there was a need to guard against the detrimental role of ‘spoilers’, both within and outside Afghanistan, who do not wish to see return of peace in the region.
The Foreign Minister expressed these views during a meeting with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan, here
at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Welcoming Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and his delegation to Pakistan, Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed the hope that his visit will open a new chapter in bilateral relations, a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here said.
He said that Dr. Abdullah Abdullah’s visit will greatly help to strengthen relations with Afghanistan and forge a common understanding on the Afghan peace process.
The Foreign Minister also extended best wishes to Dr. Abdullah Abdullah in steering the peace negotiations to a successful outcome.
Reaffirming Pakistan’s steadfast support to the peace process, he emphasized that Pakistan had always maintained there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict and encouraged all parties to reach a political solution through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process.
Welcoming the inaugural ceremony of Intra-Afghan Negotiations, held in Doha on 12 September, the Foreign Minister noted that it was now up to the Afghan leadership to seize this historic opportunity to bring an end to the decades-long conflict and secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.
He underlined the high importance Pakistan attached to its brotherly relations with Afghanistan.
He stated that recently, at the request of the Afghanistan government, Pakistan opened five border crossing-points for facilitating transit trade, bilateral trade and pedestrian movement.
The Foreign Minister also highlighted the USD 1 billion development and capacity-building assistance that Pakistan has extended to support reconstruction and economic development in Afghanistan.
Emphasizing importance of bilateral economic relations, he noted that negotiations for Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and revision of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) will commence soon to optimally utilize bilateral capacities for mutually beneficial trade and transit.
The Foreign Minister stressed that return of Afghan refugees to their homeland with dignity and honour should be part of the peace and reconciliation process.
Highlighting that terrorism was a common threat, the Foreign Minister emphasized the need for close cooperation through bilateral institutional mechanisms including relevant working groups of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) for effective border management.
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah’s visit to Pakistan comes at a crucial time as the Doha peace process moves forward and the world believes that a peaceful settlement of Afghanistan issue was the only solution for peace in the region while all those bent upon scuttling the peace process were not sincere to the war-torn country.
Pakistan has been striving for peace peace and stability in Afghanistan, as it has suffered the most due to 40 years of active conflict in neighbouring Afghanistan. The country believes in people to people contacts, mutual trade, economic and transit integration with Afghanistan.
A peaceful Afghanistan would boost interconnectivity, and together with Pakistan the two brotherly nations can provide connectivity to the region leading to prosperity of both countries, with the Afghans benefiting from economic connectivity through the CPEC potential.
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah is on his first visit to Pakistan as Chairman, High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan.