ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday received a phone call from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and expressed hope that the next phase of Afghan peace process would start soon, leading to the peaceful end of lingering conflict in the war-ravaged country.
Both leaders exchanged Eid greetings and discussed host of issues including Afghan peace process, a statement issued by the PM Office said.
The two leaders, as per the official statement, discussed the latest stage in the Afghan reconciliation. PM Imran highlighted Pakistan’s positive contribution to the peace process, strongly stressing that peace in Afghanistan is of paramount importance.
He expressed the hope that the current momentum would be further built to implement the US-Taliban Peace Agreement in its entirety leading to intra-Afghan negotiations at the earliest.
The much-awaited intra-Afghan dialogue is expected to resume soon as the Afghan government and Taliban have almost completed the prisoners swap, a key precondition for the start of the next phase of peace process.
The issue lingered on because of Afghan government’s initial reluctance to free Taliban prisoners before the intra-Afghan dialogue. The intra-Afghan dialogue will decided the future political dispensation of Afghanistan and the role of Taliban.
The first round is expected to take place in Doha, although other countries including Germany and Norway also offered to host the talks.
Meanwhile, referring to the various institutional mechanisms between the two countries, the premier highlighted the importance of working together to further strengthen bilateral relations, saying Pakistan looks forward to the next Session of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) at the earliest.
President Ghani extended felicitations to Premier Imran on the occasion of Eidul Azha.
PM Imran reciprocated the Eid greetings and observed that this year, Eidul Azha came when the international community is facing a number of challenges, including Covid-19. He commiserated with President Ghani on the loss of lives in Afghanistan due to coronavirus and expressed the hope that pandemic would be successfully contained.
PM Imran informed Afghan leader of the government’s strategy against Covid-19 in Pakistan with the particular emphasis on saving lives, securing livelihoods and stimulating economy.