Lahore - Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that there are historical brotherly relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and Pakistan is following the policy of peaceful relations with its neighbouring countries. He said that time has come for Pakistan and Afghanistan to open new avenues of trade and economic cooperation and benefit from the existing opportunities.

The Chief Minister said this while talking to a high level Afghan delegation led by Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal during a meeting, here on Thursday. Matters of mutual interest, Pak-Afghan relations and promotion of bilateral trade and economic cooperation were discussed in the meeting and it was agreed that serious efforts are needed for promoting cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan in trade and economic sectors.  Talking to the Afghan delegation, Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan and Afghanistan are the most important countries of the region and concrete measures are needed for promoting economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. He said that there should be maximum exchange of delegations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and mutual contacts should continue on permanent basis.

The Chief Minister said that Pakistan’s economy has strengthened due to positive economic policies of the PML-N government and Pakistan and Afghanistan should benefit from the existing opportunities.

He said that contacts at chambers of commerce and industry level can also play an important role in strengthening economic and trade ties. He said that businessmen of the two countries can play an important part in this regard and Punjab government is ready to extend all-out cooperation for this purpose. He said that peace in the region is of vital importance for the progress and prosperity of the people of the two countries.

 He said that the visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to Pakistan will result in strengthening of bilateral ties between the two countries.

Afghan Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal said that Pakistan and Afghanistan should set targets of economic development and move ahead. He said that trade contacts between the two countries should be promoted. He said that Lahore has made rapid progress under the leadership of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and he was pleased to see the process of development. He also invited Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to visit Kabul.  The Afghan delegation included Deputy Trade Minister Muzammil Shinwari, Ambassador Afghanistan to Pakistan Janan Musazai and others while Provincial Minister for Home Col. Shuja Khanzada, Assembly Members Rana Sanaullah, Dr. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Chief Secretary, Secretary Home, Chairman Investment Board and concerned officers were also present on the occasion.