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Overhauling ties: Kabul, Peshawar agree to set up working group

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Afghan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governments agreed to establish a joint working group within a week in order to improve relations while finding new venues for cooperation.

On his way back to Peshawar, talking to media-persons onboard the aircraft, KP Chief Minister (CM) Pervaiz Khattak said the working group would explore ways to cooperate in fields of agriculture, tourism, hydel generation, industrial production, commerce and trade.

He said the other day that the joint working group would also discuss issues of Afghan refugees in KP and Pakistani inmates in Afghan prisons. After establishment, the group will focus on cooperation in a few areas. However, scope of the working group will be extended later.

The group will be comprised of nearly three representatives each nominated by the Afghan and KP governments. The group will include an agriculturist, an industrialist and a civil servant, Khattak told journalists.

The CM further said that he has broken the ice and paved way for future visits that would ultimately help to improve relations with Afghanistan.

Thanking the Afghan government for the hospitality that he enjoyed during two-day visit in Kabul, the chief minister said that his visit changed his perception about Afghanistan. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Isnaf-led (PTI) government in KP and the national unity government in Afghanistan could share their experiences with each other, he said, adding that President Ashraf Ghani requested him for a report about reforms initiated by PTI in Pakhtunkhwa.

Both, the Afghan government and PTI are in favor of peace parleys because the ongoing conflict in the two countries could not be ended through use of force, Khattak said, adding that Kabul sought Islamabad’s help to carry the reconciliation process towards a logical end.

Regarding fate of the unregistered Afghan refugees living in KP, he said the Afghan government has been told that undocumented refugees had to be repatriated. However, he assured that law enforcement agencies would not harass refugees.

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