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ISLAMABAD: A Pak-Afghan Track-II initiative on Monday welcomed the commitment by the two countries to ending blame game and urged both sides to restrain their spokespersons from giving ‘knee-jerk’ reactions.

The third episode of ‘Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Committee (PAJC), Beyond Boundaries’, which was held in Kabul on Sunday, welcomed “commitment by both governments to refrain from public blame games as they pursue the new dialogue framework”, said a statement issued here on Monday.

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The statement was released by the Centre for Research and Security Studies, which hosts the Pakistan part of the initiative.

Recently, the two governments had agreed on a new framework for bilateral relations called the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS). The commencement of the new arrangement has been promising and seems to have provided the basis on which the two sides could build their rapprochement.

The PAJC communiqué asked both governments to restrain their “official spokespersons from making knee-jerk statements in situations involving the two countries”.

It suggested that in view of the sensitivities, both sides should avoid instant reaction to any untoward incident.

The PAJC recommended that Pakistan and Afghanistan sign a bilateral consular access agreement, work on a dignified and reasonable plan for Afghan refugees’ repatriation, hold meetings to improve the framework governing the transit trade, facilitate bilateral trade, address negative perceptions about each other, hold media exchanges and highlight progress made under APAPPS.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2018