KARACHI: Prime Minis­ter Nawaz Sharif hoped on Sunday that bilateral relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan would improve after implementation of certain decisions that had been reached when he met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Speaking to reporters in London outside the Pakistan High Commission after offering Eid prayers, the PM referred to his recent meeting with President Ghani on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Astana and said that both sides had settled certain things.

“Now we and Afghanistan both have to implement those decisions...things are moving ahead and mutual agreements are getting decided. It would have a great impact [on relationship between the two neighbours] in case of implementation,” he said in response to a question regarding frequent allegations levelled by Afghanistan against Pakis­tan.

In the Astana meeting, President Ghani and PM Sharif had agreed to use the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) mechanism as well as bilateral channels to undertake specific actions against terrorist groups and to evolve, through mutual consultation, a mechanism to monitor and verify such actions.

However, the Pakistan Army recently linked the recent terrorists attacks in Parachinar and Quetta with terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan operating under the patronage of Afghan intelligence agency NDS and Indian intelligence agency RAW.

The army chief, Gen Qamar Bajwa, also made it clear that it was Afghanis­tan’s turn to “do more” in the fight against terrorism.

The PM evaded a direct reply when asked whether his government intensified the implementation of the National Action Plan in south Punjab.

He said the menace of terrorism was already being effectively countered with the implementation of operation Raddul Fasaad under the NAP. “Obviously, terrorists want to show their presence but I am sure things would be much better soon.”

He said law and order had improved a lot over the past four years with successful steps to eliminate terrorism.

Referring to recent attacks in the country, he said such incidents had been reduced to a great extent but isolated incidents did take place, which would end soon.

He also expressed grief over the loss of lives in the Bahawalpur oil spill tragic incident.

When asked whether Pakistan could play a role for mediation between Saudi Arab and Qatar, he says something in response which is not fully audible.

Against the backdrop of Bahawalpur tragedy, the PM cut short his private visit to London and decided to immediately return home.

The prime minister will reach the country late on Sunday night.

According to an APP report, the prime minister noted that the terror incidents on Jummatul Wida and the Ahmedpur Sharqia tragedy had grieved the nation.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2017