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Mahathir to be guest of honour on Pak Day celebrations

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March 11, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The federal capital will witness hectic diplomatic activities starting next week as distinguished personalities will be visiting Islamabad in the fortnight.

The de-escalation between Pakistan and India has paved the way for such visits. Kuala Lumpur has confirmed that Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Muhammad would be visiting Pakistan in the last week of this month as he will arrive on 22nd of March for three day stay in Pakistan. He will be the guest of honour in the Pakistan Day celebrations and parade on March 23.

Special Representative of the United States of America for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad will be visiting Islamabad next week amid conflicting reports about possible agreement between the warring parties in Afghanistan.

The peace talks on Afghanistan in Qatari capital Doha have been resumed after two day break which commenced on February 25 and continued for eleven days till Thursday last following extensive discussion in a renewed bid to restore peace to Afghanistan. The fifth round of peace talks in Doha viewed as crucial. The two sides agreed on a "draft framework" that included US troop’s withdrawal and discussions of a Taliban commitment that the Afghan territory would not be used by international "terror" groups. The Taliban, in a statement released before the pause said the current round of peace talks is focused on "the withdrawal of all occupying forces from Afghanistan and not allowing Afghanistan to harm others". "Comprehensive discussions are taking place about these two subjects. Other issues that have an internal aspect and are not tied to the United States have not been under discussion," the statement said. During the talks, the US suggested a gradual troop pullout, but the Taliban representatives said they want a withdrawal by the end of 2019.

Currently, 14,000 US troops are stationed in Afghanistan. US officials have not released any statement or comment on the ongoing talks. The Doha meetings mark the highest level of negotiations between the two sides since the US ramped up peace efforts last year as the Trump administration is eager to end the nearly 18-year war.

Meanwhile, the diplomatic sources told The News, here on Sunday, that international efforts, through quiet diplomacy for checking any untoward development again is still active at faster pace.

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