Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. — Photo by AFP/File
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. — Photo by AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said Pakistan was not affiliated with any particular group when it came to Afghanistan, adding that the country would hold talks with any group when it came to working for peace in the region and that it stood for a united Afghanistan.

The premier made the above remarks during a visit to the Foreign Office, directing it to work on improving Pakistan’s relations with neighbouring states and hours before his foreign affairs and national security advisor is scheduled to travel to the war-torn country.

The prime minister apprised the foreign office of his vision pertaining to Pakistan's foreign policy and further directed the foreign office to work towards promoting economic diplomacy.

During the visit, Prime Minister Sharif was briefed by Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani on the country's foreign policy from varying approaches and in the contexts of developing regional and international scenarios.

Jilani gave a detailed briefing to the prime minister on the situation in Afghanistan, upon which the premier said Pakistan was not allied with any particular group in the neighbouring country and was willing to work for peace with any group.

Pakistan supports a united Afghanistan, the prime minister said.

Prime Minister Sharif added that he was sending Sartaj Aziz, his advisor on foreign affairs and national security, to Afghanistan with this clear message to the Afghan leadership.

Aziz will be travelling to Afghanistan on Sunday. It will be premature to say how the ice-breaking trip will go, but Afghans, diplomatic sources revealed, had not been too keen about the visit said to have been pushed by Western leaders.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are having a protracted bad patch in their ties, which is affecting the reconciliation process.

Aziz intends to address some of the concerns of the estranged Afghan leadership and persuade them to work with Pakistan for taking the peace process forward.

Updated Jul 20, 2013 05:39pm

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Comments (4) (Closed)

Jul 20, 2013 07:11pm

That is a god start .... unfortunately Nawaz Sharif does not control foreign policy.

Jul 20, 2013 08:06pm

For Pakistan to be credible it has to have an Afghan policy that the military and the civilian leadership agrees upon and is lead by the civilians. The second issue is for Pakistan to leave Afghanistan truly free to decide it's future. To openly and honestly admit their policy towards Afghanistan has been wrong and a total catastrophy for both countries and it needs changing. Then you may have a chance.

Satyajit Das
Jul 20, 2013 10:33pm

I think Mr Sharif is right. He holds good vision for pakistan and neighbours

Mohammad Saleem
Jul 21, 2013 12:43am

Working for peace and stability in Afghanistan,the new Pakistani government is not doing any favor to the former, as peace and stability in Pakistan itself is inexorably linked to peace in stability in Afghanistan.