9 December 2023
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Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul Thursday morning for a day-long visit.

“I have travelled to Kabul to build trust, communication, and Afghanis that Pakistan is standing with them,” said PM Khan while addressing a joint press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

“The whole idea of coming here when violence is increasing in Afghanistan is to assure that we, the people of Pakistan, have only one concern: we want peace in Pakistan,” he said. The people in Afghanistan have been suffering for the last four decades and now the level of violence is rising despite Qatar talks. “I assure you that Pakistan will do everything to help reduce the violence.”

Pakistan is most interested in peace in Afghanistan because it will benefit our tribal areas. “The ex-FATA regions were devastated by the war on terror, their livelihood was badly affected and so the best way to help those people is if there is peace and connectivity,” the premier said.

“Our common objective is to take a leap of faith to overcome the distrust that has haunted our relationship,” said while . “We have come to an understanding that the shared vision regarding cooperation is not only essential for relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan but a harbinger of regional cooperation and activity.”

He said that the following are their common focus:

Poverty education. Empowerment of citizens within the framework of our Islamic constitutions.Respect for the Holy Prophet (PBUH).It is important to differentiate between positive and negative freedom. “Negative freedom is an exercise which hurts other people. “For Muslims, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) holds such a place that respect for the Prophet is considered respect for the entire Muslim population.”

He remarked that he has learned from Pakistan that violence is not an answer. “A comprehensive political settlement for enduring peace–within the framework of our values and Constitution in the Islamic Republic–is the way to the future and within this, we can move forward.”

He added, “the two countries have formed committees to deal with key topics to make sure that the foundation for trust that has been established with your trip today becomes an enduring process.”

President Ghani said that he accepts the PM’s invitation to visit Pakistan soon.

On his arrival, the PM was received by Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar and Afghan President’s Special Representative for Pakistan Mohammad Umer Daudzai and other senior officials.

“The prime minister’s programme includes tete-e-tete with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, delegation-level talks, and joint press stake-out,” according to a statement issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. “The focus would be on further deepening the fraternal bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Afghan peace process, and regional economic development and connectivity.”

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, ISI DG Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood, Special Representative for Afghanistan Muhammad Sadiq are accompanying the premier too.

PM Khan’s visit is part of regular high-level exchanges between Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to the foreign office. President Ashraf Ghani had last visited Pakistan in June 2019. Earlier, the two leaders had a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 14th OIC Summit in Makkah in May 2019. The prime minister also had a telephonic conversation with President Ashraf Ghani in September 2020.

“The people of Pakistan and Afghanistan are linked through immutable bonds of history, faith, culture, kinship, values and traditions,” said the foreign office. “The PM’s visit will help foster a stronger and multi-faceted relationship between the two brotherly countries.”

Abdul Gh Lone