The inaugural meetings of five working groups under Afghanistan and Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) held in Kabul this Sunday are a continuation of commitment of Islamabad and Kabul to achieve regional stability and peace through dialogue. The multi-departmental delegation from Pakistan met its Afghan counterpart for enhancement of bilateral ties. The two sides have realised in recent years that cooperation is the key to resolve the longstanding issues. Pakistan and Afghanistan lacked a comprehensive and structured mechanism for coordination and collaboration. However, the APAPPS provides for an arrangement of enhancing engagement among counterpart institutions of the two countries. The multi-department nature of coordination under the APAPPS will ensure greater involvement of the two governments in strategising for regional stability. Till recent times both sides were suspicious of the other’s role in regional security and peace. The arrangement under the APAPPS primarily focuses on security and trade that will enhance the mutual trust.

Engagement on a multi-departmental level by Islamabad and Kabul is the need of the hour. The two sides will conduct the next round of talks in Islamabad that will take the initiative further and will pave the way for ensuring effective and thorough implementation of the peace enterprise. The two sides have already suffered a lot because of the war on terror in Afghanistan. It is time to give time to peace instead of playing a blame game. The APAPPS meeting shows that Islamabad and Kabul are serious in bringing peace to the region. The APAPPS initiative has an enormous potential of not only eliminating terrorism and bringing peace to the region; it can also prove useful in normalisation of relations between the two countries. Furthermore, the APAPPS that provides a framework to strengthen mutual trust and deepen interaction in all spheres of bilateral ties also holds the potential of making the people of the two countries prosper. Governments in Islamabad and Kabul should ensure successful implementation of this enterprise.