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Pakistani parliamentary delegation visit Kabul would be the first step in snowmelt: Ashraf Ghani

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ISLAMABAD:(APS)May 1, 2017: As the Pakistani Parliamentary delegation prepared to leave Kabul after a hectic three-day tour to the Afghan Capital, President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan called Speaker of the National  Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq on telephone, thanking him for his bold decision of taking the first step to break the ice between the two neighbouring countries, message received from Afghanistan.

President Ghani also asked the Speaker to convey his message of gratitude to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif for the latter’s sincere efforts in bridging the differences between Afghanistan and Pakistan. While lauding the acumen shown by the parliamentary leadership of Pakistan, President Ghani termed the visit of the high-level parliamentary delegation as a “new chapter in the bilateral relations of the two countries: He also commended the Speaker for his mediatory role and hoped that the visit would pave way for lasting peace and friendship between the two countries.

Earlier, the former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah also assured Speaker Ayaz Sadiq of their utmost cooperation in cementing cordiality between Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Pakistan and Afghanistan are twin brothers and will remain so for all times to come,” remarked Mr. Karzai. Sardar Ayaz Sadiq met the two leaders separately here in Kabul, where he had landed on Saturday with an unprecedented 17-member parliamentary delegation, comprising the entire political spectrum, represented in the two Houses of the Pakistani Parliament.

“Never in the history of Pakistan has such a delegation of this stature visited any country,” told Speaker Ayaz Sadiq to Mr. Hamid Karzai, reminding him of Pakistan’s utmost sincerity in building cordial relations with its western neighbour. He said that the entire political leadership of Pakistan spoke with one voice for developing meaningful partnership between Afghanistan and Pakistan. “It’s time we move forward in confidence and trust without indulging in any blame-game. Let bygone be bygone and start a fresh,” offered Mr. Ayaz Sadiq.

Mr. Karzai, the former President and the most respected Afghan leader welcomed the delegation, terming it a turning point in the bilateral relationship. He said he saw a very bright prospect for peace. “You have filled me with hope Mr. Speaker,” said Mr. Karzai. The two sides took stock of the existing relationship and agreed on removing all irritants, including cooperation in the realms of security, intelligence sharing, joint border management, refugee handling, enhancing trade, mutually agreed visa regime and regular exchanges at all levels of the state and society.

Mr. Abdullah Abdullah, the Chief Executive, while hosting a dinner in honour of the visiting delegation, regretted the time lost in making sincere efforts from both sides. “We are the representatives of the people and if we fail our people, they will never forgive us,” said the Afghan leader. He stressed that it was important for Pakistan to understand that no other country in the world could take the place of Pakistan as there was no parallel to the kind of emotional, historic and cultural affinity the people of the two countries shared between each-other. “We may have friends but the Afghan soil will never be used against Pakistan,” assured Dr. Abdullah Abdullah.

While welcoming the statement of the Afghan Chief Executive, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq called for putting tangible actions to translate words into deeds. He recalled that Pakistan and Afghanistan had stood by each other in every thick and thin and could not afford to live in animosity in such critical times. “Forces of destruction are playing havoc with the lives and property of our both countries. The looming threat of DAAISH is a challenge, which must be confronted with full might. In such times if we keep on putting the blame on each-other, people on both sides of the Durand Line will suffer the consequences,” said Ayaz Sadiq. It was mutually agreed to take full advantage of Pakistan’s first step of sending a Goodwill delegation and turn it into a sustained process. The visit will be followed by regular meetings of the political and parliamentary leadership of both countries, which will keep a comprehensive follow-up of all rounds of talks between different state institutions in order to remove any arising irritants.

The Pakistan parliamentary delegation, lead by Speaker Ayaz Sadiq comprises Leader of the House in the Senate, Raja Zafar-ul-Haq, Federal Ministers Gen. Abdul Qadir Baluch, Mir Hasil Bazinjo, and Akram Durrani, Chairman of the NA Foreign Relations Committee Sardar Awais Leghari, Chief of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party MNA Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Parliamentary Leaders of  PPP Syed Naveed Qamar, ANP’s Ghulam Ahmed Bilour,  PTI’s Shafqat Mehmood, Jamat-e-Islami’s Sahibzada Tariqullah, Qaumi Watan Party’s Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and FATA leader G.G. Jamal besides senior officials of the National Assembly of Pakistan.

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