Pakistan to strengthen ties with Afghanistan: Imran Khan
Islamabad, Oct 27: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said his government has decided to strengthen relations with Afghanistan "no matter who is in power" in Kabul.
Inaugurating a two-day seminar titled 'Pakistan-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Forum' here on Monday, Khan reaffirmed Pakistan's strong resolve to continue to play its role for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Khan said his government was making efforts to enhance connections with the business community of Afghanistan in order to benefit from each other's experience and give impetus to trade and economic relations. The prime minister said his government has decided to strengthen relations with Afghanistan "no matter who is in power" in the neighbouring country.
"Future of both countries is dependent upon their unity, mutual trade, and enhanced economic interlinks," Khan said while highlighting the need to support Afghan traders and investors.
He said both the Muslim countries had vast potential for investment and economic activities, which would bring regional prosperity and development. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan could benefit from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and become hubs of trade and business, he remarked.
Khan made it clear that the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process was the chief concern of his government and no other country in the world could take credit equal to Pakistan in its efforts to maintain peace in Afghanistan.
Speaker of Afghan Wolesi Jirga Mir Rahman Rahmani said Afghanistan valued Pakistan’s contributions to the Afghan peace process. He said the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan was deep-rooted in common culture, faith, and values. He also stressed the need for enhancing parliamentary contacts between the two countries.
While appreciating the steps taken by Pakistan to facilitate Afghan transit trade, which had reduced the time of shipment clearance on the border, Rahmani said opening new border points for trade would facilitate the trade further.
Pakistan's Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar said that 2,640 kilometres Pak-Afghan border was not only the longest border that Pakistan shared with any of its neighbours, but it was also the thread that weaves the two nations into a historic tapestry of "social, cultural, linguistic, economic, religious and fraternal ties”.
He proposed the formation of a task force to oversee the terms of negotiation of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), which was going to expire next year and needed input from parliamentarians and institutional stakeholders from both sides of borders for a comprehensive future trade agreement.
The two-day seminar was organised by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser at a time when trade and political relations between the neighbouring countries have improved lately. Wolesi Jirga (Afghan Parliament) Speaker Mir Rahman Rahmani, heading an Afghan delegation, arrived here on Qaiser’s invitation to attend the seminar.