ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed on Thursday to form a working group on security to oversee their joint efforts against terrorism.
The on-again, off-again relationship between the two countries received a boost when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Dr Rangin Dadfar Spanta agreed at a meeting to go after all terrorists without any discrimination.
“The main focus of talks was on strengthening bilateral security cooperation. Both sides agreed on the need to take action against all terrorists without making any distinction among them and their hideouts on their respective sides,” says a handout released by the foreign ministry.
Agreeing that terrorism was their common enemy the two sides stressed the need for working in close cooperation at the institutional level to deal with the menace.
The joint working group will be co-chaired by Pakistan’s foreign secretary and Afghanistan’s deputy foreign minister and will have representatives from the security institutions concerned.
A second meeting has been scheduled for July 3 to fine-tune coordination.
Dr Spanta was accompanied by Janan Mosazai, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan; Atiqullah Hatifmal, Deputy Foreign Secretary; Maj Gen Asadullah Akramyar of the Ministry of Defence and Hakimullah Hakmatullah Foushanji, Director International Affairs.
During the meeting, Dr Spanta delivered a letter from President Hamid Karzai to the prime minister.
Both sides reiterated their resolve to strengthen their relations in a meaningful and result-oriented manner.
According to the handout, Dr Spanta also attended delegation-level talks with Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.
They reaffirmed their commitment to building a comprehensive relationship based on enhanced trade and economic partnership.
The Pakistani side reiterated its full support to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. The two sides agreed to strengthen bilateral engagement at various levels for addressing each other’s concerns and pursuing the cause of peace and stability in the region.
Later, the Afghan delegation met Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Sharif.
The leadership of the two countries have been in regular contact since Pakistan launched a military operation against militants in North Waziristan. The Afghan president called Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on June 20 and the Afghan ambassador met Mr Sharif and Gen Raheel last week.
PBC DELEGATION: A delegation of the Pakistan Bar Council headed by its Vice-Chairman Ramzan Chaudhry called on the prime minister. The meeting was attended by Minister for Information Senator Pervez Rashid, Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid and Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt.
Prime Minister Sharif highlighted the importance of bar councils in a democratic society and said revolution in the country would come only through elections and its future was associated with democracy.
A source in the PML-N told Dawn that following the arrival of Dr Tahirul Qadri in the country and rallies being held by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, the government had decided to contact bar councils and other such associations to mobilise support for the government.
At the meeting, the prime minster highlighted the importance of operation Zarb-i-Azb and said the government entered the process of negotiations to resolve the issue but terrorists thwarted all its efforts. “Now the whole nation stands by the army and we will Insha’Allah come out victorious in this decisive battle against the terrorists.”
He said the nation should unite and help internally displaced persons. By eradicating the menace of terrorism Pakistan will be able to stand along with progressive nations.
About development projects and economy, he said: “We will successfully resolve the issue of loadshedding in our tenure. Our government has taken up unprecedented development projects which will help reduce poverty and create millions of jobs in the country”.
Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2014