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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Ghani & Imran discuss Afghan Peace Process, Bilateral Ties & Regional Peace

President Ashraf Ghani held a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss the Afghan peace process, bilateral ties, and regional peace. The two heads of state agreed to work closely to overcome all impediments to regional stability, and open new corridors for economic cooperation.

News Desk |

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s one-on-one meeting with Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, focused on the Afghan reconciliation process, geopolitical agendas and regional security, held at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad on Thursday.

Prime Minister Khan introduced President Ashraf Ghani to the members of his cabinet and senior officials of the federal government, while Ghani introduced the premier to the members of his delegation.

Read more: US encourages Pakistan Afghanistan talks and reconciliation with Taliban looks on…

President Ashraf Ghani reached Pakistan on Thursday morning for his two-day visit on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s invitation. The Afghan President was received by Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textiles, Industries Production and Investment, at the Nur Khan air base.

President Ashraf Ghani’s high-level delegation included Special Representative and Ambassador to Pakistan Atif Mashal, National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib, NDS Chief Masoom Stanekzai and Acting Interior Minister Massoud Andrabi amongst other Afghan businessmen, ministers and advisers.

A section of the armed forces awarded Ashraf Ghani with a guard of honour and Prime Minister Khan received his delegation amidst national anthems of the two neighbouring countries.

Ghani briefed on Pakistan’s Efforts

Earlier, the Afghan President sat down for a delegation-level dialogue with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Foreign Minister Qureshi stressed that Pakistan is determined to play a sincere role in the Afghan peace process, marked with good intentions.

FM Qureshi underscored, “The Afghans have been suffering the brunt of instability and the ongoing war in Afghanistan, and Pakistan firmly believes that result-oriented dialogue is the sole way to usher in lasting peace in the region.”

Foreign Minister Qureshi stressed that this high-level visit of the Afghan President will aid in solidifying cooperation and bilateral ties between the two countries. The Afghan and Pakistani delegations agreed to expedite the implementation of the jointly-formulated strategy of lasting peace, brotherhood and welfare for the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Read more: Afghanistan reduces its dependence on Pakistan

During this meeting, Foreign Minister Qureshi and the Afghan President discussed strategies to improve trade and investment opportunities, boost the bilateral economy, and boost cooperation in the sectors of energy, communications and cultural development, alongside improving people-to-people contact.

President Ashraf Ghani lauded Pakistan’s efforts to maintain regional peace and stability, first in his meeting with Foreign Minister Qureshi, and later in the one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Bilateral Ties & People-to-People Exchanges

A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed that during his two-day visit, President Ashraf Ghani will also hold meetings with President Dr. Arif Alvi, alongside delegation-level talks with PM Khan.

MoFA noted, “The wide-ranging talks between the two sides would focus on strengthening bilateral cooperation in diverse areas – including political, trade, economic, security, peace and reconciliation, education and people-to-people exchanges.” President Ghani will also be visiting Lahore to take part in a business forum organized for businessmen from Pakistan and Afghanistan, alongside offering prayers at the Badshahi Mosque.

Dr. Firdous stressed that this visit is reflective of PM Khan’s vision for regional peace and stability, and eliminating conflicts to pave the way for prosperity.

The Foreign Office highlighted that this marks President Ghani’s third visit to Pakistan, in the wake of the landmark Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS). The two countries have had multiple bilateral exchanges of importance, including PM Khan’s telephonic conversation with President Ghani, a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the OIC summit in Makkah, and the visit by the Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib.

MoFA stated, “The people of Pakistan and Afghanistan are bound by fraternal ties reinforced by historical, religious, linguistic and cultural affinities. Closer engagement between the leaders will help foster a stronger and multi-faceted relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

President Ashraf Ghani’s last bilateral visit to Pakistan was in November 2014, and later in December 2015, he attended the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process (HoA) Ministerial Conference in Islamabad.

Read more: Afghanistan interim govt: Pakistan should stick to its guns

Since then, Afghanistan and Pakistan entered a damaging ‘blame-game’ that eliminated all prospects of cooperation as Kabul blamed Pakistan for supporting the Afghan Taliban and undermining its “legitimacy”, all the while taking no responsibility for the NDS-RAW strategic cooperation in operating terrorist groups attacking Pakistan from Afghan soil.

It appears that now the two countries are making genuine efforts to put aside all mistrust and blame-games and carve out a path for mutual cooperation and initiatives for peace. Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting, expressed confidence that the visit of President Ashraf Ghani will usher in improved socio-economic relations.

Speaking to APP, Dr. Firdous stressed that this visit is reflective of PM Khan’s vision for regional peace and stability, and eliminating conflicts to pave the way for prosperity.