LONDON - The leadership of Pakistan, Afghanistan and UK on Friday vowed to fight terrorism jointly while Pakistan demanded steps for repatriation of Afghan refugees .
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday held a meeting with his British counterpart David Cameron at 10-Downing Street in London and discussed bilateral relations as well as the regional situation.
The two leaders exchanged views on security issues in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the backdrop of the US troops’ withdrawal. The prime minister appreciated the UK’s assistance for Pakistan’s social sector development, particularly, health and education. He invited British entrepreneurs’ to invest in the energy sector of Pakistan.
Prime Minister Cameron, appreciating Pakistan’s sacrifices, stated that it had suffered more than any other country in the fight against terrorism. He assured his government’s support to Pakistan in its efforts to root out the menace of terrorism. Later, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also joined them.
Prime Minister Sharif, sources said, apprised David Cameron of Pakistan military’s operation against militant groups in the tribal belt of the country. Sharif said Pakistani Army had made efforts to improve security situation in the country that would help counter terrorism and militancy following the US pullout from the region. UK Premier David Cameron, on this occasion, said despite the troops’ pullout, Afghanistan would not be abandoned as it had been after the Soviet war.
Nawaz Sharif demanded steps for repatriation of the Afghan refugees on which the Afghan president assured him of settling this issue soon.
Prime Minister Sharif also assured him that Islamabad would share intelligence with Afghanistan, adding Pakistan had also badly been hit by terrorism The UK premier lauded Pakistan’s initiative for facilitating and welcoming the new Afghan regime. Sharif said a stable, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s best interest and said it looked forward to forging a cooperative relationship with the Afghan government. The three leaders expressed their resolve to work together for a stable, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan which would have a salutary impact on the entire region.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also met Prince of Wales Prince Charles at Clarence House here. The prime minister appreciated the personal interest he has been taking in the rehabilitation of flood-affected people in Pakistan. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is in UK on a three-day visit to participate in the conference also attended by David Cameron, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and John Kerry.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron asked his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on Friday to ensure a British man jailed for blasphemy is treated fairly and that his history of mental health is taken into account.
Cameron raised the case of 70-year-old Muhammad Asghar during a meeting in London with Prime Minister Sharif, the British leader’s spokeswoman told reporters, saying more junior government officials had previously raised the same matter.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani voiced the hope his country would never again need foreign combat troops and said he wanted to “do business differently” with the international community.
“Afghans in our very long history have only needed direct combat support in the last 30 years. We hope that we will never need direct combat support,” he said after the conference.
“The world is not responsible for everything for Afghanistan. It is us who are responsible for everything,” Ghani told reporters, speaking alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron. Ghani, who formed a national unity government with his election rival Abdullah Abdullah in September, has spoken about the need for Afghan self-reliance as foreign combat troops withdraw after 13 years.
He also referred to the ongoing security challenges.
“It’s not always that we have to face these threats with military power. We have to focus on softer ways to deal with these things, on investment, on economic activities,” he said.
Cameron said: “In all of those transitions we will be with you every step of the way, helping where we can.”
At the conference, Ghani signalled a shift from his predecessor Hamid Karzai in a speech to delegates including Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
“We are determined to do business differently. Now we hope that our partners will be joining us in a full spirit of give and take,” he said.
“Your continued support for Afghanistan... gives us the confidence that you will be standing next to us, though in a non-combat role.
“This transition from combat to non-combat is welcome,” he said.
Ghani also promised to set up a new cabinet with the country’s chief executive officer Abdullah “within two to four weeks” of returning to Kabul.