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Pakistan wants durable partnership with Afghanistan: Nawaz Sharif

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: During a meeting with the Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga Speaker Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the decision of talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban is a positive signal for the peace process.

“We desires a comprehensive and enduring partnership with Afghanistan that contributes to the security and prosperity of the two nations,” Pakistani media quoted Sharif while talking with Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi, who called on him at the Prime Minister’s House. While highlighting Pakistan’s vital stake in peace, stability and development of Afghanistan, the prime minister said that Pakistan attached great importance to its brotherly ties with Afghanistan.

“Stronger ties between the two countries would help reinforce efforts for peace and development in the region,” he said. Hinting to the President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Pakistan, Sharif said that Pakistan’s focus was on improving mutual trust. He furthered that it would pave the way for deeper engagement in diverse areas of cooperation including security, counterterrorism, trade and economic development to the benefit of both the countries. Terrorism is a common enemy of the two countries, he said, adding that Kabul and Islamabad need to work together to get rid of this menace.

He expressed his hope that Pakistan’s engagement in sincere and consistent efforts for promoting peace and reconciliation through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process would ensure durable peace in Afghanistan. He furthered that the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) has been making good progress in right direction.
He said that Afghanistan must have an environment to enable return of the Afghan refugees to their country with respect, honor and dignity on the right time. Speaking on the occasion, Ibrahimi said Pakistan was the only nation that supported Afghanistan against external aggression in 1979. “We appreciate the Pakistani nation for hosting Afghan refugees for 30 years despite difficulties.” He called Pakistan a second home for Afghans, saying: “We must remain steadfast friends in all situations.” While praising Sharif’s policy on the peace process, the speaker said that the friends of Afghanistan were friends of Pakistan and enemies of Afghanistan were enemies of Pakistan. Afghan Ambassador Dr. Omar Zakhilwal, Afghan MPs, Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq and lawmaker Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao were also present during the meeting.

Pakistani’s primer remarks come at a time when the QCG in its fourth meeting on the Afghan peace and reconciliation process on Tuesday decided direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban to be held in early March.

According to a press release issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the delegation was led by Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, Pakistani’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing and US Charge d’Affaires, David Lindwall.

The four-nation meeting invited all Taliban and other insurgent groups to participate in the first direct peace talks with the Afghan government to be held in Pakistan.

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