ISLAMABAD - Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser yesterday said several foreign attempts aimed at disrupting relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan had not been successful due to commitment and understanding of both the nations.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, in a meeting with outgoing Ambassador of Afghanistan Shukurullah Atif Mashal, praised his role in bringing both the brotherly countries closer to each other. Referring to the formation of task forces of the Pak-Afghan Parliamentary Friendship Group, the Speaker said that the Task Forces deliberated on a spectrum of issues affecting trade and people to people contact between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He said that recommendations had been finalised on normalising Afghan bound container traffic, liberalising border trade and visa regime and “Tracking and Scanning” of containers on arrival and departure from Pakistan, which had partly been implemented. He assured that the rest of the issues would be resolved soon.

He said that grant of short term visa on arrival to patients and their families and long term visa to students was in the final approval stage.

The Speaker said that Pak-Afghan parliamentary cooperation, besides collaboration in trade and commerce sectors, would further boost development and prosperity on both sides of the border.

Afghan Ambassador Shukurullah Atif Mashal thanked the Speaker for his kind and encouraging remarks. He said that he had spent a memorable time in Pakistan. 

He said that Pakistan feels like a second home to him and would always cherish its memories. He agreed that both the nations have much affinity which was increasing with the passage of time. He praised the role of the Speaker in taking the lead role in trade facilitation and resolution of contentious issues.

He said that Afghanistan attaches immense importance to its relations with Pakistan. He said that support of Pakistan for bringing peace in Afghanistan is commendable. He said that extending trade and cooperation in diverse sectors would be beneficial for both the countries. He praised the role of Parliamentary Friendship Groups in augmentation of existing cordial relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.