ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for Afghanistan’s reconciliation process.

“Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi reiterated Pakistan’s support to the efforts for Afghan reconciliation under an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” said a statement from PM’s Office on the prime minister’s meeting with Afghan Ambassador Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal.

The two discussed bilateral relations and initiatives for peace and stability in Afghanistan. The Afghan envoy conveyed to Mr Abbasi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s desire for meaningful engagement with Pakistan in all areas of interaction.

Afghan envoy conveys to PM Abbasi President Ghani’s desire for meaningful engagement

Mr Ghani had last week invited Mr Abbasi to Kabul for initiating “a state to state comprehensive dialogue”. The dialogue is meant to fix the problems in bilateral relations that were preventing cooperation between the two countries.

The invitation was extended during National Security Adviser retired Lt Gen Nasser Janjua’s visit to Kabul last Saturday following President Ghani’s offer of holding unconditional dialogue with the Taliban and improving ties with Pakistan.

Sharing his views about a Pak-Afghan dialogue, Mr Abbasi told the Afghan envoy that bilateral engagement should be strengthened to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in diverse fields. He laid emphasis on institutional interaction and high-level exchanges to enhance bilateral trade, economic cooperation and transit of Afghan goods through Pakistan.

Mr Abbasi also underscored the need of deepening connectivity between the two countries and expediting ongoing regional projects, including TAPI and CASA1000.

The prime minister condemned the suicide attack on Kabul’s Karte Sakhi shrine in which at least 26 lives were lost.

The attacker targeted Nauroz celebrations at the shrine. The attack was claimed by the militant Islamic State group.

“Pakistan strongly condemns today’s reprehensible suicide attack close to Ali Abad hospital and Kabul University.

We are grieved at the loss of precious and innocent lives in this brutal attack of terrorism,” the Foreign Office said in a separate statement.

“Pakistan reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all forms and manifestations and expresses solidarity with the government and people of Afghanistan in their fight against the menace of terrorism,” the statement added.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018

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