LAHORE - President of the Pakistan Muslim League-N Mian Shehbaz Sharif has welcomed the initiatives for ceasefire in Afghanistan during Eidul Fitr, mooted first by the Afghan government and then also by the Afghan Taliban.

In a press statement, Shehbaz termed it a positive first step towards promoting an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, adding that the PML-N government had played a pivotal role in initiating steps for peace in Afghanistan. The PML-N government, he added, had hosted the first-ever direct, face-to-face talks between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban in Murree in July 2015.

Mian Shehbaz Sharif pledged that should the PML-N return to office after the July 25 general elections, it will be his top priority as the prime minister of Pakistan to promote peace in Afghanistan as peace in Afghanistan is inextricably intertwined with peace and security in Pakistan.

He said the people and valiant armed forces of Pakistan have paid a heavy price for peace as over 70,000 soldiers and civilians have been martyred and wounded since 9/11. No country has sacrificed more than Pakistan in the campaign against terrorism and Pakistan has fought the most successful inland war against terrorism and extremism in the Muslim world.