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October 1, 2020

Afghanistan, Pakistan interdependent: Abdullah

Top Story

October 1, 2020

Ag APP

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday said there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and a politically negotiated settlement was the only way forward. The President stated this in a meeting with Chairman, High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) of Afghanistan, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. Expressing satisfaction at the progress achieved in the Afghan peace process, the president conveyed his best wishes for success of Dr Abdullah Abdullah in his assignment as chairman of the HCNR.

President Alvi reaffirmed that Pakistan would stand by the decisions made by the Afghan nation with regard to the future of Afghanistan. The president emphasised the importance of patience and perseverance in the peace negotiations. He also underlined the need for guarding against the spoilers, who do not wish to see return of peace in the region.

The president underlined that Pakistan has completed a number of development projects in Afghanistan, including hospitals, schools, hostels and road network.

Meanwhile, Dr Abdullah Abdullah said Pakistan and Afghanistan have the opportunity at hand to begin a new era of bilateral relations, based on mutual respect and shared prosperity.

Dr Abdullah Abdullah said this while speaking at a roundtable event organised by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS). He appreciated Pakistan’s efforts regarding Afghan peace process and also the recent string of confidence-building measures from Islamabad. He specifically mentioned Pakistan beefing up trade infrastructure along the Pak-Afghan border to boost bilateral trade and the announcement of new visa policy.

Dr Abdullah said he wanted to visit Pakistan since a long time, and was concluding his trip in Pakistan with a very positive impression. He said that the ongoing negotiations offer a window of opportunity. “Peace and prosperity in both Pakistan and Afghanistan are interdependent,” he said while highlighting the need to go beyond the rhetoric and the usual blame game, as one cannot afford to pursue dissolution.

Imtiaz Gul, Executive Director CRSS, titled Dr Abdullah Abdullah as a “Man for Peace”. He also informed the plenary that CRSS has tried to keep the issues of public interests alive through cross-border dialogues and built pressure for their resolution. Gul also thanked Dr Abdullah Abdullah for his mediation for smooth functioning of Pakistan’s sponsored projects within Afghanistan over the last few years.

Dr Abdullah Abdullah also appreciated CRSS efforts, stating that in the last five years, even when the two sides had a very acrimonious relationship, CRSS always kept the door open for dialogue and cooperation.

Regarding the intra-Afghan negotiations, he said that after 42 years of war, the Afghan government and the Taliban are sitting across the table; that in itself is historic. There is no maiden prescription for the future of Afghanistan; we have to work it out with a broad-based consensus.

He said that there is a sense of urgency than ever to look towards our region as one. “We need to take into account the current geo-political shifts and draw necessary lessons. Our collective goal should be to reduce tensions, promote moderation, increase regional connectivity, trade, transit, economic integration, business to business and more importantly, people to people interactions,” he said.

Lastly, he apprised the participants about his meetings with Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser and Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani. He termed meetings and overall mood of these parliamentary institutions very positive. He said that he would take this mood back to Kabul and hoped for increased parliamentary interactions between two sides.

The roundtable was attended by Dr Shoaib Suddle, Former IG Police; Shandana Gulzar Khan and Mehnaz Akbar Aziz, Members National Assembly, Ambassador Tasnim Aslam, Ambassador Asif Durrani, Ambassador Sanaullah, Ambassador Qazi Humayun, Samina Durrani, Trustee CRSS, and Zeeshan Salahuddin, Programme Director CRSS, along with Afghan guests and officials accompanying Dr Abdullah Abdullah.