ISLAMABAD: The chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) of Afghanistan, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, will arrive here on Monday on a three-day visit.
Dr Abdullah will be accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising prominent members of the High Council for National Reconciliation, the Foreign Office announced in a statement here on Sunday.
During the visit, Dr. Abdullah will meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Dr Arif Alvi.
He will also meet Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Speaker of National Assembly Asad Qaiser, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and others.
The Afghan leader will also speak at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad and will also meet journalists.
This is Dr Abdullah’s first visit to Pakistan in his capacity as chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.
The visit will provide an opportunity for wide-ranging exchange of views on the Afghan peace process and strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations and people-to-people interaction.
Pakistan attaches high importance to its fraternal ties with Afghanistan, rooted deep in shared history, faith, culture, values and traditions. Pakistan fully supports all efforts for peace, stability and prosperity of the Afghan people.
The visit of Dr Abdullah will contribute to further strengthening of amity, brotherhood and close cooperation between the two countries.
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser in an exclusive interview to Pakistan Television on Sunday said the visit of Dr Abdullah Abdullah to Pakistan would be a milestone in cementing Pak-Afghan relations. He said Pakistan fully supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace initiative, adding that a peaceful Afghanistan was in the best interest of Pakistan and the region.
Mr Qaiser opined that people of Afghanistan and Pakistan regardless of ethnicities were bound together by everlasting cultural, religious and historic affinities.
The speaker said that regular engagement at political and functionaries’ levels had foiled foreign attempts to disrupt bilateral relations between the two countries. He said parliamentary interaction would further augment those relations.
Referring to the foreign aggression on Afghanistan three decades ago, the speaker said that Pakistanis wholeheartedly welcomed their Afghan brethren. He said with the advent of peace in Afghanistan, the government of Pakistan would further facilitate the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland.
In reply to a question, the speaker said that he was a proponent of bringing changes to the naturalisation laws for giving national status to Afghans born and bred in Pakistan. He said that he would support a parliamentary discourse in this regard.
Referring to Pak-Afghan trade, the speaker said the trading communities on both sides could play an important role to boost their national economies. He said being president of the Pak-Afghan Parliamentary Friendship Group, he had constituted task forces of the group to address issues at Pak-Afghan border
Mr Qaiser said the recommendations had been sent to the government and almost 80 per cent of the recommendations had been implemented. The speaker said proposed changes in Pak-Afghan visa policy would soon be approved by the federal cabinet.
Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2020