ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday assured that it would continue to support Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process for an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. 

This assurance was given to Leader of the Hizb-e-Islami, Afghanistan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who separately called on President Dr Arif Ali and Prime Minister Imran Khan here.

During his meeting with the Afghan leader, President Dr Arif Ali underscored the need for peace and stability in Afghanistan, which he said, would benefit not only Afghanistan and Pakistan but the entire region as well. 

He assured that Pakistan would continue to stand by the Afghan nation in difficult times and would continue to contribute to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan. 

The President warned against the role of spoilers who are bent upon derailing the peace process and said that the Afghan leadership must seize this historic opportunity to establish lasting peace in Afghanistan and save the peace-process from being harmed.

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

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

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan, during his meeting with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, assured full support to the Afghan peace process.  He said Pakistan was committed to regional stability and had played a key role for Afghan peace. 

“Matters related to Afghan Peace Process and Pak-Afghan fraternal relations were discussed,” said an official statement. Earlier, Hekmatyar also met Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. The FM said his country played a key role in the peace talks, and will continue its efforts to end the 19-year-long conflict in Afghanistan.

Both the leaders exchanged views on intra-Afghan dialogue, which began in Doha, Qatar, last month, and strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations as well as people-to-people interaction.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar along with a delegation had arrived in Pakistan on October 19 on a three-day visit to hold meetings with the Pakistani leaders. Hekmatyar will also deliver a talk at a policy think-tank and interact with the media.