President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday said Pakistan would continue to support the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process for an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement in the neighbouring country.

He was talking to Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who called on him here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

While welcoming the visiting dignitary, the president said Pakistan and Afghanistan shared a similar history, culture and religion, and the two brotherly countries must further strengthen bilateral cooperation for the mutual benefit of their peoples.

He said Pakistan would continue to stand by the Afghan nation in difficult times, and contribute to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan, according to a President’s Media Office news release.

President Alvi underscored the need for peace and stability in Afghanistan, which would benefit not only Afghanistan and Pakistan but the entire region as well.

He expressed the hope that the peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban, and the Intra-Afghan Negotiations would help bring stability in Afghanistan.

The president warned against the role of spoilers, who were bent upon derailing the peace process. The Afghan leadership must save the peace-process from being harmed and seize the historic opportunity to establish lasting peace in their country, he added.

He emphasized that Pakistan’s positive contribution in promoting peace in Afghanistan had been acknowledged by the international community.

President Alvi highlighted Pakistan’s support to Afghanistan, particularly the assistance extended to the Afghan refugees, opening of the border for transit and bilateral trade during the COVID-19 pandemic, and revised visa policy for the Afghan nationals.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar lauded Pakistan’s efforts for promotion of peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.