Pakistan has reiterated the commitment for a close, cooperative relationship with Afghanistan that serves the best interests of the two nations and helps advance the cause of peace, progress and development in the region.
The remarks were made by Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz at the Reception Hosted by the Ambassador of Afghanistan to Celebrate 97th Anniversary of the Independence Day of Afghanistan in Islamabad on Friday.
Sartaj Aziz on behalf of the people and the Government of Pakistan extended heartiest felicitations to the Ambassador and the people of Afghanistan on the joyous occasion.
Sartaj Aziz said Afghanistan is a brotherly country and a close neighbour of Pakistan. He said we share an abiding relationship that draws strength from the rich bonds of our common faith, history, geography, culture and kinship. He said the people of the two countries have firmly stood with each other in thick and thin.
The Advisor on Foreign Affairs said that close cooperative relations with Afghanistan have always been cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. He said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s vision of a “peaceful neighbourhood” enshrines a comprehensive partnership with Afghanistan for promoting peace, progress and prosperity of our region.
Sartaj Aziz said we persistently endeavour for constructive engagement with Afghanistan to further strengthen our neighbourly ties, based on mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and adherence to the cardinal principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan desires lasting peace in Afghanistan. It is important for peace and stability in Pakistan and for realizing our leadership’s vision for promoting connectivity with Central Asia and beyond. He said we firmly believe that politically negotiated settlement through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process is the most viable option for achieving this objective.
The Advisor on Foreign Affairs said that terrorism remains a common threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said Pakistan and its forces are valiantly fighting the menace of terrorism and we have rendered immense human and economic sacrifices in this struggle in the recent years. He said close cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan is important for eliminating the scourge of terrorism from our region.
The Advisor said it is encouraging that our increased cooperation has manifested in the form of a high-level consultation mechanism that would deepen trust and confidence amongst our two countries. It entails an opportunity to collaborate in dealing with our multiple security and political challenges and pave way for forging constructive ties in many areas.
Sartaj Aziz said consistent with the vision of our leadership, Pakistan is committed to the pursuit of comprehensive bilateral engagement in various fields such as in trade, investment, security, counter-terrorism, border management, energy transmission, infrastructure connectivity, Afghanistan’s reconstruction and rehabilitation, parliamentary exchanges and cultural, educational and sports links.
Pakistan is undertaking a number of reconstruction and development projects in Afghanistan geared to stimulate socio-economic development. Under the $500 million assistance package, the Government of Pakistan has built roads, schools, universities and hospitals in various parts of Afghanistan.
Sartaj Aziz said the Prime Minister has consistently reiterated his desire for forging a strong trade and economic partnership with Afghanistan to reap the benefit of our strategic locations into mutual economic dividend. He said enhanced regional connectivity through road, rail and energy transmission networks would enable us to effectively utilize our immense natural resources for economic development of our peoples.
The Advisor on Foreign Affairs said that in order to promote the ideals of regional cooperation and connectivity, Pakistan will be hosting the SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November this year. He said we look forward to the participation of President Ashraf Ghani in this important regional summit. -RadioPakistan