ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari while addressing closing ceremony of seminar “Heart of Asia 2015 and Beyond” as a chief guest at National Defence University, Islamabad has said that the post-2014 US exit scenario presents opportunities and challenges as the gradual withdrawal of ISAF/NATO troops from Afghanistan will help facilitate the reconciliation process inside Afghanistan resulting in regional peace and stability.
Chairman further remarked that Pakistan has an abiding interest in stability of Afghanistan and our leadership is committed to strengthen relations with the country. He said that Pakistan would be supportive of any political solution for peace in Afghanistan that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. Pakistan wishes to redouble its efforts in facilitating direct intra-Afghan contacts, the Senate Chairman added.
“One thing is for sure that we have a common vision of problems faced by both countries and both sides are in agreement that peace, security and stability in the two neighbours is interlinked” Nayyer Bokhari observed.
He mentioned that Pakistan has recently taken an initiative for greater people-to-people contacts, whereby a Pakistan-Afghanistan Peoples Friendship Association is being launched with Senator Afrasiab Khattak as its President and Senator Dr. Jehangir Badar as the Secretary General, which would hold a big Pakistan-Afghanistan Peoples Friendship Festival in Kabul during October 26-28, 2013.
Regarding the ongoing war in Afghanistan, Chairman Senate said that the war has grave geo-strategic consequences for Pakistan. It has paid huge cost in the form of militant insurgency in its tribal areas, religious extremism, domestic terrorism, drone strikes and public mistrust of this war. Historically speaking, the importance of Afghanistan for Pakistan can hardly be underestimated.
Addressing the participants of the seminar, the Senate Chairman said that active participation is needed from all the regional stakeholders for securing and stabilizing Afghanistan and that no decision for Afghanistan can be made without the facilitating role in terms of active politico-economic and diplomatic ones by the regional countries.
He said that the joint seminar of NDU Islamabad with NESA is a highly appreciable exercise that also signifies the importance of dynamic relationship between Pakistan and the United States, and of the invaluable role which relates to sharing of thoughts and experiences between our two sides.
He thanked the President and management of the NDU and specially thanked Ambassador James A. Larocco from NESA and foreign guests who have travelled all the way to Islamabad to make this exercise a memorable event.
President NDU Lt. General Javed Iqbal also addressed the gathering and highlighted the importance of the seminar.