By Our Staff Reporter
Islamabad: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his government has agreed to strengthen ties with Afghanistan “no matter who is in power” in Kabul.
Inaugurating a two-day seminar entitled ‘Pakistan-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Forum’ here on Monday, Khan reiterated Pakistan’s deep determination to continue to play its role in peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Khan said that his government was making efforts to improve links with Afghanistan’s business community in order to benefit from each other’s experience and stimulate trade and economic relations.
The Prime Minister said that his government has agreed to improve relations with Afghanistan “no matter who is in power” in the neighbouring country.
“The prosperity of both countries depends on their unity, reciprocal exchange, and enhanced economic ties,” Khan said, emphasising the need to help Afghan traders and investors.
He said that both Muslim countries had a vast potential for investment and economic activity that would bring regional prosperity and growth.
Both Afghanistan and Pakistan could benefit from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and become hubs of trade and industry, he said.
Khan made it clear that the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process was the key priority of his government and that no other country in the world could take a credit equal to Pakistan in its efforts to preserve peace in Afghanistan.
Afghan Speaker Wolesi Jirga Mir Rahman Rahmani said that Afghanistan appreciated Pakistan’s contribution to the Afghan peace process.
He said that the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan was profoundly rooted in a shared culture, faith, and values.
He also emphasised the need to strengthen legislative ties between the two countries.
Though appreciating the measures taken by Pakistan to facilitate Afghanistan’s transit trade, which had reduced the time of border clearance, Rahmani said that opening new border points for a trade would further facilitate trade.
Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar said that the 2,640-kilometre Pak-Afghan border was not only the longest border that Pakistan shared with any of its neighbours, but it was also the thread that weaves the two nations into a historic tapestry of “social, cultural, linguistic, economic, religious and fraternal links.”
It suggested the establishment of a task force to oversee the terms of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) negotiation, which was due to expire next year and required input from parliamentarians and institutional stakeholders from both sides of the border for a substantive future trade agreement.
The two-day seminar was organised by Asad Qaiser, Speaker of the National Assembly, at a time when trade and political ties between neighbouring countries have recently improved.
Wolesi Jirga (Afghan Parliament) Speaker Mir Rahman Rahmani, head of the Afghan delegation, arrived here at Qaiser’s invitation to attend the seminar.