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January 1, 2015
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Pak-Afghan MPs call for joint efforts to curb terrorism

National

January 1, 2015

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ISLAMABAD: Members of parliaments of Pakistan and Afghanistan met for the 12th round of Pakistan-Afghanistan Parliamentarians’ Dialogue here called for joint efforts and steady steps for preventing terrorist attacks and reiterated their resolve against all kinds of terrorism and extremism affecting the two countries.
In a joint statement issued at the end of the dialogue facilitated by the Pakistan Institute of Democracy and Transparency (PILDAT) unequivocally condemned the heinous and inhuman terrorist attack of December 16 in Peshawar. Similar dastardly terro-rist attacks in Kabul and Paktika province were also deplored.
Parliamentarians of the two countries acknowledged and appreciated the positive momentum in bilateral relations generated through the visit of Afghanistan’s newly-elected President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to Pakistan, in November, this year.
The parliamentarians also appreciated the vision of building a “peaceful neighbourhood” of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as a fundamental element of which is the vision of a strong, comprehensive and enduring partnership between Pakistan and Afghanistan. “A strong and viable bilateral relationship between the two countries is the only guarantee of the security and prosperity as well as of peace and development in the region,” they said.
The parliamentarians as representatives of the people of the two neighbourly countries, MPs appreciated that the two countries are now ready to, independently and along with each other, take concrete and effective steps to counter terrorism and extremism aimed at ensuring peace and stability in the region.
Participants of the dialogue underscored the need for bilateral cooperation, particularly cooperation among the State and security agencies in two countries, in fight against terrorism, extremism, and for achieving and maintaining peace and stability.
In this regard, need for comprehensive and effective laws on combating terrorism, including

cyber terrorism, was underscored. Parliaments and parliamentary committees in both countries should oversee effective implementation of these laws.
Parliamentarians stressed that trade and commerce between the two countries must be prioritised and formalised. Both sides also supported removal of bottlenecks and trade barriers and emphasised that facilities for transit trade between the two neighbouring countries must be improved.
They also supported the initiatives to enhance connectivity between Pakistan and Afghanistan, including through a motorway between Peshawar and Kabul, rail and road links between Parachinar and Kabul, Peshawar and Jalalabad and Chaman and Spinbolduk as well as building a trade central strategic corridor between the two countries.
They also believed that mechanisms and opportunities for public private partnerships must also be enhanced. The MPs also favoured de-weaponisation and improved drug management across the border.
Parliamentarians stressed on putting in place a relaxed visa regime that allows multiple entry visas of citizens of each country. Speedy visas should be issued for citizens travelling for health-related reasons.In addition to the need for enhancing educational scholarships for students of Afghanistan, the two countries would greatly benefit by cooperation in education.

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