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Pakistan wants durable peace in Afghanistan: Nawaz Sharif

Kabul, Islamabad as friends can stand by each other in difficult times, says President Ghani

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif arrived in Kabul on Tuesday and delivered his country’s commitments for underpinning durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Premier Nawaz Sharif and other high-ranking Pakistani officials, after a formal invitation by the Afghan government, arrived in Kabul on Tuesday. On the same day, Sharif appeared in a joint press conference with President Ashraf Ghani.

Nawaz reiterated that building close cooperative relations with Afghanistan is top priority of Pakistan. He said that Islamabad is committed to policy of non-interference in other countries’ affairs.

He stressed that every effort guided to weaken and destabilize Afghanistan would face tough reaction from Pakistan as the two neighboring countries are committed to support peace and stability and fight insurgency together.

Both countries planned to conduct coordinated military operations on both sides of the Durand Line against insurgents to eliminate their safe sanctuaries, Nawaz said, adding that they would try to destroy shelters of the rebels.

President Ashraf Ghani said the current war on terror was imposed on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and role of the two countries is vital to fight terrorism.

“We are fighting a war that is imposed on us by the regional and international terrorism. We are fighting it not just for our own sake. It is a war imposed on us and we must defend our country and its people,” Ghani said.

He went on saying that Pakistan is a country that has suffered so much from terrorism. “Therefore, both our nations shall join hands in fighting terrorism which is a common threat. With a clear vision, we can win the confidence of our peoples that the two countries are working towards a brighter future and not fall victim to their past,” the Afghan president reiterated.

He further said that the countries should join hands to fight terrorism which is a common enemy and help each other at the difficult time.

Sharif was accompanied by a high-level delegation which includes the army chief, the prime minister’s special advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz, the PM’s special assistant on foreign affairs Tariq Fatemi, the foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry and other Pakistani officials.

Meanwhile, Afghan senators said the government should urge Islamabad to stop supporting insurgents. They said that in the meeting with Nawaz Sharif, the Afghan president should emphasize on support for the peace process and elimination of militants’ safe havens.

Though not so optimistic about outcome of the promises made by Nawaz Sharif in his visit to Kabul, the senators said that President Ashraf Ghani and the chief executive Abdullah Abdullah sincerely supported the Afghan-led peace process.

Deputy Chairman of Meshrano Jirga (MJ), Muhammad Alam Ezidyar, called on the president and the chief executive to ask Pakistan to restrain from supporting the Afghan insurgents and push the Afghan reconciliation process towards success.

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