Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif received a call from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Afghan President Hamid Karzai congratulating him on his early victory in the historic May 11 polls.
Moreover, caretaker prime minister Mir Hazar Khan khoso also telephoned Sharif today to congratulate him.
Partial, unofficial results from Saturday’s election showed a stunning comeback for Nawaz Sharif who was earlier deposed as prime minister in a 1999 military coup and spent years in jail and exile.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai also invited the incoming government to help negotiate an end to the Taliban insurgency that has ravaged his country for nearly 12 years.
Taliban militants use Pakistan’s border areas as a refuge to launch attacks across Afghanistan’s south and east, and elements of the Pakistani state are accused of providing tacit support for the Islamist extremists.
We hope that the government paves the way for peace and brotherhood with Afghanistan and cooperates in fighting terrorism and sincerely rooting out terrorist sanctuaries,” Karzai said.
The two countries need to work together to be “saved from the menace of terrorism”, he said in a statement, welcoming Saturday’s high voter turnout as a sign that people wanted democracy despite threats from militants.
The West sees Pakistan’s involvement as crucial to securing a peace settlement in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have fought against US-led troops since 2001.
But Afghanistan has accused Pakistan of imposing impossible conditions on peace talks, and small-scale border clashes have erupted in the latest sign of frayed tensions.
Nawaz Sharif’s election victory is unlikely to see a radical change in Pakistan policy with regards to Afghanistan as commentators say there is a wide degree of consensus on trying to assist peace efforts.