Abbasi’s Kabul tour fetches noteworthy deals

By Staff Reporter
Saturday – April 7, 2018
ISLAMABAD: At the invitation of Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, prime minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi visited Kabul on Friday, both discussed the entire gamut of Pak-Afghan relations including peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, counter-terrorism (CT), return of Afghan refugees, bilateral trade and regional connectivity.

According to an official statement, in a one on one meeting followed by delegation level talks at the Afghan presidential palace, Ghani and Abbasi agreed that “Afghanistan Pakistan action plan for peace and solidarity (APAPPS)” provided a useful framework for broad based and structured engagement on all issues of mutual interest and decided to operationalise the five working groups.

Abbasi welcomed Ghani’s vision for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and his offer of “peace talks with the Taliban”. Both leaders called on the Taliban to respond positively to the peace offer and join the process without further delay.

They agreed that there was no military solution to the ongoing Afghan conflict and that the political solution was the best way forward. Both the leaders reiterated that terrorism was a common enemy and threat.

They agreed not to allow their soils to be used for anti-State activities against each other. Both agreed that peace, prosperity and stability of the two countries are interlinked. They reaffirmed their resolve to work together to address all issues of bilateral and transit trade.

They expressed their firm resolve not to allow politics to affect their economic relationship which was important for the welfare of the peoples of the two countries. Both reaffirmed their commitment to “regional connectivity” as they had done in Herat on February 23rd, 2018, while jointly inaugurating the entry of “Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline” originating from Turkmenistan.

They agreed to hold an early meeting of the joint economic commission (JEC) to take forward planning and implementation of key “rail road gas pipeline and energy projects” that will integrate Pakistan and Afghanistan with the central Asia.

The two leaders agreed to move forward on “Chaman-Kandahar-Herat railway line”, “Peshawar-Kabul motorway”, and other connectivity projects which can help realise the tremendous potential of south and central Asian regions by providing shortest access through the “sea ports of Gwadar and Karachi”.

They emphasised early completion of TAPI and “central Asia south Asia (CASA) 1000” projects.

Later, Abbasi met Afghan chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, both leaders agreed on regular leadership contacts. Abbasi announced a gift of 40 thousand tons’ wheat for the Afghan people. He announced “waiver of additional regulatory duty” on Afghan export to Pakistan to help lift the Afghan economy.

The two sides agreed to initiate discussions on consular matters and “exchange of civilian prisoners”. Abdullah and Prime Minister Abbasi reaffirmed their resolve to build trust and confidence between the two countries by working closely for peace, prosperity and stability in their countries.

Furthermore, Abbasi also met with senior political leaders including Gulbadin Hekmatyar, Ustad Mohammad Mohaqiq, Ustad Mohammad Karim Khalili, Pir Sayed Hamed Gailani, to convey the support of the government and people of Pakistan to all ethnic groups in Afghanistan and to underscore Pakistan’s commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Abbasi was also accompanied by foreign minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and national security adviser (NSA) Nasser Khan Janjua.