LAHORE - Vehemently refuting the impression that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had declined the invitation to visit Pakistan, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said here yesterday that the Afghan leader had assured him that he would visit Islamabad after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pays a visit to Afghanistan.

The relations between the two neighbours are very tense these days and visit by either side could help melt the ice.

Ayaz Sadiq had recently led a multi-party parliamentary delegation to Kabul and had held talks with the top leadership of the war-ravaged country.

The Afghan president’s Deputy Spokesperson Dawa Khan Minapal had said last week that Ashraf Ghani had rejected the invitation, making it clear that he would not visit Pakistan until Islamabad hands over the perpetrators of recent terror attacks in Afghanistan.

“I will not go to Pakistan till the perpetrators behind the attacks in Mazar-i-Sharif, the American University in Kabul and the Kandahar attacks are handed over to Afghan authorities and until Islamabad takes concrete action against Afghan Taliban militants on Pakistani soil,” Minapal had quoted Ghani as saying.

The Afghan president last paid an official visit to Pakistan in Dec 2015 for the Heart of Asia moot.

Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said that former Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah will also be visiting Pakistan soon.

“When [Afghanistan’s] parliamentary delegation comes we will talk to them about our soldiers being attacked [in Chaman].”

The speaker said that Pakistan has started fencing its borders and over 1,000 posts have been established. He urged Afghanistan to co-operate so as to improve border security.

The speaker said that once border fencing was complete, neither side would have any complaints.

Replying to a question, Mr Ayaz Sadiq said the PML-N government would complete its constitutional tenure and the next general election would be held in 2018.

He said tenure of the incumbent government would expire on June 1 next year and the elections would be held after 90 days of the establishment of caretaker government.