ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan met Afghanistan’s Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who called on them separately during his three-day visit to Pakistan.
During the meeting, the president said that Pakistan would continue to support the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process for an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement in the neighbouring country.
While welcoming the visiting dignitary, the president said that Pakistan and Afghanistan shared a similar history, culture and religion, and the two brotherly countries must further strengthen bilateral cooperation for the mutual benefit of their peoples. He said that Pakistan would continue to stand by the Afghan nation in difficult times, and contribute to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.
President Alvi underscored the need for peace and stability in Afghanistan, which would benefit not only Afghanistan and Pakistan but the entire region as well. He expressed the hope that the peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban, and the Intra-Afghan Negotiations would help bring stability in Afghanistan.
The president warned against the role of spoilers, who were bent upon derailing the peace process. The Afghan leadership must save the peace-process from being harmed and seize the historic opportunity to establish lasting peace in their country, he added.
He emphasised that Pakistan’s positive contribution in promoting peace in Afghanistan had been acknowledged by the international community.
President Alvi highlighted Pakistan’s support to Afghanistan, particularly the assistance extended to the Afghan refugees, opening of the border for transit and bilateral trade during the Covid-19 pandemic, and revised visa policy for the Afghan nationals.
Hekmatyar lauded Pakistan’s efforts for promotion of peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
During his meeting with the visiting Afghan leader, PM Imran reaffirmed Pakistan’s full support for Afghanistan for reconstruction, economic development and dignified return of the Afghan refugees.
The premier underscored historic bonds of friendship and brotherhood between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He also highlighted the importance Pakistan attaches to the fraternal Afghan people and reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to foster closer cooperation with Afghanistan.
PM Imran expressed best wishes for successful outcome of the Afghan peace process as Pakistan has the highest stake in peace and stability in the region. He reiterated Pakistan’s long-standing position that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process is the only way forward.
The premier noted that Intra-Afghan negotiations have provided a historic opportunity for the Afghan leadership to establish lasting peace.
Underlining the positive contribution made by Pakistan in facilitating the Afghan peace process, he hoped that the Afghan parties would work to secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.
The prime minister also warned against the damaging role of spoilers, within and outside Afghanistan.
Besides undermining peace and stability, he underlined that this could also undermine the peace dividend to be accrued in terms of progress and prosperity of the Afghan people.
PM Imran said that Pakistan would continue to facilitate people-to-people exchanges, promote Afghan investments, and enhance programmes for human resource development and capacity-building of Afghans, especially in the education and health sectors.
Hekmatyar appreciated Pakistan’s positive role in facilitating the Afghan peace process. He also thanked Pakistan for its long-standing contribution to the socio-economic development of Afghanistan and for hosting millions of Afghan refugees for more than four decades.
A day earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, during a meeting with the Hezb-e-Islami leader, said that the talks provide a chance to create a long-lasting peace in the area.
“Intra-Afghan talks provide a unique opportunity to the leadership for establishing lasting peace in the country,” the foreign minister said at the Foreign Office (FO).
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has said lasting peace can only be achieved through a political settlement accepted by the people of Afghanistan,” Qureshi said, adding that Pakistan would continue to play its part in facilitating the peace process.