ISLAMABAD- Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has said that building stable and cooperative relations with all countries of the region including Afghanistan is part of his vision of a peaceful neighborhood.
He said this while talking to Afghan Minister for Refugees and Repatriation, Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi, who called on him at the PM House here on Thursday morning.
He said with the change of leadership in Afghanistan our two countries have commenced a historic new phase in our bilateral relations, agreeing to overcome the past and building a forward-looking relationship based on mutual trust.
The Prime Minister said our focus is on enhanced political engagement, security and counter-terrorism cooperation, trade and economic partnership, and regional cooperation.
He said terrorism is a common enemy of the two countries and requires our common endeavours to defeat it.
Both the countries have paid a very heavy price at the hands of terrorism and now we have launched Operation Zarb e Azb which has broken the backbone of terrorist network in the country, he said.
We have a commitment, he said, not to allow our territories to be used against each other. Pakistan is in favour of an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process.
Talking about Afghan refugees the Prime Minister said Pakistan is fully committed to the internationally endorsed Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees.
The two countries should closely engage with UNHCR for devising a realistic roadmap for repatriation of the refugees, he said.
The Prime Minister recalled that in the London Conference on Afghanistan held in December last year, he had called upon the international community to support Afghanistan to bring back Afghan refugees living abroad, by helping to create conducive conditions for their sustainable reintegration in their homeland.
He said that Pakistan respects the principle of voluntary return and feels encouraged that the Afghan government is creating pull factors to incentivize the return of refugees.
The Prime Minister expressed the confidence that Mr. Balkhi’s visit would help advance the realization of “comprehensive and enduring” partnership between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
He indicated his desire to visit Kabul himself to further bolster bilateral ties.
Balkhi thanked the government of Pakistan for showing deep concern for their Afghan brethren affected by the avalanches in the country and for sending two planeloads of relief goods.
He also conveyed best wishes of President Ashraf Ghani to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister also asked him to convey his greetings to the Afghan leadership.
Balkhi said it is a blessing for the entire region that the Prime Minister is a visionary leader who has prioritized establishment of peace in the region. He regarded this policy of the Prime Minister as history changing.
He said the desire of the Afghan people is to focus on economic development and not to hear the sound of gunshots again.
We wish our security cooperation deepens and both the countries work as one team, so that terrorists are given a decisive defeat, said.
Balkhi said an inter-ministerial Board has been formed in Afghanistan overseeing return of Afghan refugees which is being chaired by Presidential Ashraf Ghani.
He apprised the Prime Minister of his earlier meetings in Pakistan at the SAFRON Ministry as well as at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He also conveyed condolences over the tragic attack on Army Public School, Peshawar.
Members of Parliament, Yousuf Sabir and Maulvi Shahed said a vast majority of Afghan people admiration for Pakistan and its leadership.
They said people of Afghanistan are grateful for Pakistan for providing assistance for building Jalalabad-Torkham road and universities in Balkh and Mazar.
Federal Minister for SAFRON, Lt. Gen. ® Abdul Qadir Baloch, SAPM Tariq Fatemi and Ambassador of Afghanistan, Janan Musazai were also present during the meeting.
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