By Ashrafuddin Pirzada
KABUL: Prime Minister Pakistan Imran Khan paid a day-long visit to Afghanistan on Thursday and held a one-on-one meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and discussed different bilateral issues including trade and border security.
Prime Minister Imran Khan visits Kabul today at the invitation of President Ashraf Ghani. This was the Prime Minister’s first visit to Afghanistan since assuming office in August 2018.
The Prime Minister had wide-ranging talks with President Ashraf Ghani to review efforts during the past two years to promote shared objectives of strengthening Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations and achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s support to a peaceful, stable, united, democratic, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan. He reiterated his longstanding view that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a negotiated political settlement was the only way forward for enduring peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan called on all sides for taking necessary measures for reduction in the violence leading to ceasefire to protect Afghan lives.
Underscoring the importance of an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement, the Prime Minister underlined that Pakistan will respect the decisions made by Afghans in the peace process. He also cautioned against those who could spoil the peace efforts.
During the Prime Minister’s visit, Pakistan and Afghanistan also issued a document titled “Shared Vision between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Support Peace and Stability in Both Countries and the Wider Region.” The Shared Vision is aimed at advancing a forward-looking cooperative partnership between the two countries for political, economic and people-to-people exchanges.
The two leaders agreed to constitute Committees to pursue security and peace-related matters.
The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction at increasing high-level leadership exchanges imparting a steady momentum to bilateral cooperation in diverse fields. In this regard, he appreciated that the recent visit of Advisor on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood to Kabul from 16-18 November led to important breakthroughs for commencement of negotiations on Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), progress in revision of APTTA, Customs Assistance Agreement, and understanding to have MoU for cooperation between two Central Banks.
The two leaders also agreed to expedite infrastructure and energy connectivity projects. They also discussed development of new rail-road projects between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister extended an invitation to President Ashraf Ghani to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience.