We must stop treating Afghanistan as 'our province' for peace: Ex-Pak Minister

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Islamabad, July 14 (ANI): Former Pakistan Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao has stressed that the country's leadership must stop treating Afghanistan as one of the provinces to establishing peace and stability in the region.

Talking to reporters here, Sherpao said Pakistan must stop treating Afghanistan as part of the country, as the policy has severely affected ties between both neighbours.

"First of all we have to consider Afghanistan as a sovereign state and not our province. It is unfortunate that most Afghans have resentments against Pakistan. The conversation (between the two countries) should take place both at the institutional and at people-to-people levels," The Daily Times quoted Sherpao, as saying.

Welcoming Afghan President Hamid Karzai's reconciliation efforts, he said the time has come when Islamabad should reassess its strategy keeping in view the changing dimensions of the Afghan crisis.

"We welcome the Afghan peace jirga and I think Pakistan can play an important role there. If Afghans reach some sort of reconciliation and we fail to do so... it will not serve the purpose. It (reconciliation) has to be on both sides," said Sherpao, a member of Parliament's National Security Committee.

"A new breed of the Taliban has taken over now. They are not those madrassa Taliban. Many highly educated people have joined their ranks. They are entirely different people," he said, adding that all political forces must come up with a new strategy to deal with the threat of terrorism.

He also highlighted that a trust deficit exits between Islamabad and Kabul, and to bridge that gap both sides should sign an accord for not allowing each other's territories to be used against one another. (ANI)

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