PM Imran urges Afghan leaders to seize ‘historic opportunity’ for peace

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Acknowledging the initiation of intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha two weeks ago, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday expressed the hope that the Afghan leadership will seize this “historic opportunity” to work together constructively and “secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement”, according to The News.

PM Khan emphasised that all Afghan parties must work together in unison for the reduction of violence leading to ceasefire. He promised that Pakistan will support whatever the Afghans choose to agree upon for the future of their country. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s full support for the post-conflict Afghanistan on its path to reconstruction and economic development, which he observed during a meeting with Chairman High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan Dr. Abdullah Abdullah.

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Per the news website, Khan extended a warm welcome, and conveyed his best wishes for a successful outcome of the Afghan peace process. He further expressed the desire that Dr. Abdullah Abdullah’s visit would help open a new chapter in bilateral relations.

Khan repeated his persistent stance that there was in fact no military solution to the Afghan conflict and that a political solution was the only way forward. He conveyed his utmost satisfaction whilst addressing how the international community had come to recognize this stance and also acknowledged Pakistan’s positive and accommodating role in facilitating the Afghan peace process.

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Read more: PM Imran accepts Ghani’s invitation to visit Afghanistan

“The US-Taliban peace agreement was a major step forward in these endeavours” added PM Khan. In the bilateral context, the Prime Minister also highlighted that Pakistan and Afghanistan had “immense trade complementarities” and, per the publication, emphasized the need for “optimally utilizing these capacities for mutually-beneficial trade and transit”.

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He assured Dr. Abdullah Abdullah that Pakistan would continue to undertake all efforts necessary in order to facilitate the Afghan transit trade and deepen bilateral trade and economic ties, as well as “people-to-people exchanges with Afghanistan”.

Khan claims he was looking forward to his visit to Afghanistan on the invitation of President Ashraf Ghani. Meanwhile, speaking at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), Dr Abdullah Abdullah said Afghanistan would focus on benefitting from the US-Taliban peace deal.

‘’There are no winners in the war, and no losers in peace. In the realms of challenges such as terrorism and coronavirus pandemic, Pakistan and Afghanistan need to work in close collaboration to overcome the related problems,” he said.

Read more: Peace in Afghanistan is crucial for peace in the entire region: FM

Dr Abdullah stressed upon the strengthened relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the fields of transit trade and people-to-people contacts. Per The News International, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan desired sustainable peace in Afghanistan and would continue to extend support in this regard.

Qureshi further revealed that Pakistan’s peace was linked with peace and stability in Afghanistan and also in the entire region. He continued that Afghanistan must realize that Pakistan wanted to be its ‘’friend and not master’’.

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah also called on Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani at the Parliament House. Sanjrani remarked that Pakistan will continue to support efforts for “a lasting peace in Afghanistan”, as the solution to the Afghan problem lay in, primarily, dialogue. Sanjrani also hosted a luncheon in the honor of Dr Abdullah Abdullah which was attended by parliamentary leaders, ministers and parliamentarians.

Read more: Afghanistan’s chief peace negotiator Dr Abdullah Abdullah visits Pakistan

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