ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Tuesday asked the visiting high-level Afghan High peace Council delegation to come up with concrete proposals about the kind of role Kabul wants Islamabad to play in pushing forward the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

The visiting Afghan delegation led by its Chairman Salahuddin Rabbani held a series of meetings with civil and military leadership and exchanged views on how Afghanistan and Pakistan can make the stalled peace and reconciliation process meaningful.

The visiting delegation apart from in depth discussion with senior officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs also met separately with President Asif Ali Zardari and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and discussed host of issues including peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, Pak-Afghan bilateral relations and regional developments.

According to official sources, President Asif Ali Zardari assured Afghan High Peace Council that Pakistan would continue to extend every possible support to its Afghan brothers in their journey towards peace and socio-economic development as peaceful, stable and economically developed Afghanistan was vital for Pakistan’s own stability and prosperity. 

He said that Pakistan firmly believes in Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process in the country, which he ,added, was the most viable way to ensure permanent peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Welcoming the delegation of Salahuddin Rabbani, President said that the people of Pakistan had a special place for late Burhanuddin Rabbani and assured that Pakistan will continue to work with him on his late father Burhanuddin Rabbani’s unfinished agenda for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

He expressed confidence that like his father, Salahuddin Rabbani will be able to lead the process of Afghan peace and reconciliation in a manner that will take us nearer to our common goals and expressed hope that his visit will pave the way for further enhancing closer relations between the two countries.

Commenting on efforts to curb extremism, he said that terrorism was a common threat for Afghanistan and Pakistan and urged for working together on both sides for eliminating this scourge and to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Zardari also stressed the need for the two countries to focus on curbing the financing of terrorism, as there exists a clear nexus between the large-scale heroin trade and terrorism.

He said that the money generated from the heroin trade was being used to finance terror operations and said that both the countries can conquer the heroin trade only through collective action.

Discussing recent incidents of shelling on the borders, the two leaders urged for increased coordination between the two countries to stop such incidents in future.

Salahuddin Rabbani thanked President Zardari for the support and cooperation Pakistan has been extending towards peace, stability and development of Afghanistan.

He said that Afghanistan was keen to further strengthen its brotherly relationship with Pakistan, as the destinies of the people of the two countries were inter-linked.

The Afghan delegation included among others Muhammad Umer Daudzai, Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Muhammad Masoom Stanekzai, Adviser to Afghan President, and HPC members Qaimuddin Kashaf,Din Muhammad Azizullah, Pir Muhammad Tanai, Fazel Karim Aimaq, S. Noorullah Burthani, Ms Hawa Alam Nooristani, Ms Najia Zewari, Muhammad Akbari, Haji Muhammad Anwar, Abdul Hamid Mubarez and Muhammad Qaseem Ludin.

While from Pakistan side, the meeting was attended among others by Syed Naveed Qamar, Minister for Defence, spokesperson to the President, Senator Farhatullah Babar, Lt Gen Zaheer ul Islam, DG ISI, Jalil Abbas Jilani, Foreign Secretary and Muhammad Sadiq Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan.

Later, the Afghan High Peace Council delegation called on the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani at GHQ and discussed matters of mutual interest, particularly peace process in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, it was learnt from the diplomatic sources that Afghan delegation and senior officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs would meet again on Wednesday (today) to firm recommendations in the light of discussions held during the past three days.

The Afghan delegation would submit these recommendations to President Hamid Karzai for further action.

Afghan support needed for peace, Rabbani told