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Saturday, October 22, 2011

No peace in region with unstable Afghanistan: PM talking to Mohaqiq

* Gilani says Pakistan is ready to train Afghan security forces and administration to cope with situation after withdrawal of foreign troops

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, on Friday, said there could be no peace in the region without peace in Afghanistan.

Talking to Ustad Mohaqiq, member of Wolesi Jirga and Commission on Law and Justice of Wolesi Jirga chairman at the PM House, Gilani said Pakistan was ready to train the Afghan army, police and administration to cope with the aftermath of withdrawal of foreign troops by 2014.

Gilani said he shared his views about peace in Afghanistan with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and said friendship and animosity could not co-exist, as was the case with reconciliation and brinkmanship.

The prime minister said that All-Parties Conference’s resolution stood for giving peace a chance, and it was conveyed to the US secretary of state and to the world in a very candid manner.

The prime minister urged the need for frequent exchanges of parliamentarians between the two countries, adding people to people contact was the best diplomacy to build bridges among people.

Gilani said it was his vision to develop good neighbourly relations with countries of the region, saying this paradigm shift in the foreign policy best served the national interests. “It was in accordance with this vision that I have embarked upon diplomacy aimed at enhancing cooperation among the countries located in this part of the world,” the prime minister said.

Gilani said he had met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Karzai, Iranian president and leaders of other countries of Central Asia to further the cause of friendly relations with the countries situated in close proximity to Pakistan. He said such a shift in foreign policy was critical to establishing connectivity among peoples of the countries, promoting intra-regional trade, and laying the foundation for sustainable bonds, a prelude to social development of people.

The prime minister said he had visited Afghanistan twice and met President Karzai along with Pakistan’s military leadership. He said Pakistan supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of reconciliation. “We want to see independent, prosperous and stable Afghanistan. My government supports any solution which will not destabilise Pakistan as was the case last time when this country had to host three million Afghan refugees,” Gilani stated.

The prime minister said he went to Quetta and expressed his deep condolences over the brutal killings of members of the Hazara community and directed the administration to take all steps to ensure safety of their lives and properties.

“Interior Minister Rehman Malik recently visited Quetta on my instructions to assure the community that the government would bring the culprits to justice,” the prime minister said. The prime minister said Pakistan had contributed $350 million to the rehabilitation of people of Afghanistan and awarded 2,000 scholarships to the Afghan students who were now studying in various universities of Pakistan.

Gilani thanked Ustad Mohaqiq for giving land to build Jinnah Hospital in Afghanistan with the assistance of Pakistan, including a number of basic health units and primary schools.

Ustad Mohaqiq said both the countries shared common traditions, culture and history.

He paid tributes to the leadership of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan by saying that he was a man of peace.

He advocated the kind of reconciliation in which Taliban could be included provided they accepted the Afghan constitution.

He thanked the Gilani for taking effective measures to protect the Hazara community.

He strongly rejected the practice of blaming each other and instead underscored the need for working closely against the common enemy.

He said both Afghanistan and Pakistan should work to accomplish the mission of Professor Burhanuddin who wanted to see both the countries as good neighbours and good friends. app

Daily Times

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