Islamabad - The 16-member delegation of Afghan lawmakers representing both Masherano Jirga (upper house) and Wolesi Jirga (lower house) on Monday arrived in Pakistan for participating in two-day dialogue with Pakistani counterparts.

The two-day dialogue that will mainly focus on counterterrorism strategies and future relations between Islamabad and Kabul is being co-hosted by the Standing Committee on Defence and Parliamentary Friendship Group on Afghanistan, Senate of Pakistan.

The dialogue has been facilitated by Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) as part of its Pakistan-Afghanistan Parliamentarians’ Exchange and will span over December 30 to January 03 in Islamabad.

Addressing the welcoming luncheon given in the honour of the visiting delegation here at Parliament House, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, who is co-chair of the parliamentary security dialogue, hoped that 2015 would be a year of greater mutual cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Senator Sayed, who is also chairman of senate standing committee on defence, also urged to increase bilateral cooperation between Islamabad and Kabul to combat terrorism which he termed as common enemy of the both countries.

“There is a paradigm shift in Pakistan’s approach, bidding goodbye to the notions of ‘strategic depth’ as well as drawing distinctions of good/bad terrorists. Its time for the two countries to resolve the issue of terrorism that has become a chronic problem,” the senator said.

“Pak-Afghan relations are of paramount importance in the Pakistan Foreign Policy and there is a complete consciousness among all Pakistani political parties for a peaceful Afghanistan,” Mushahid said in his address, adding that in the coming new year more bilateral cooperation regarding security issues and military-to-military relations was expected.

He said Pakistan’s national poet Allama Iqbal had predicted nearly eighty years ago that the peace, stability and prosperity in Asia would be interlinked with a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan. He referred to Allama Iqbal’s poetry, in which he said that stable Afghanistan would lead the whole region to stability while turmoil in Afghanistan, on the other hand, would affect whole region badly.

Leader of Afghan Parliamentary delegation, Senator Baz Mohammad Zurmati, also spoke on the occasion and assured full support of Afghan government to root out terrorism. He, on behalf of Afghanistan, also condemned the tragic incident in Peshawar, saying that people in Afghanistan were shocked on this brutal act of terrorism.

Leader of the House in Senate Raja Mohammad Zafar-ul-Haq, Senator Farhatullah Babar, Senator Afrasiab Khattak, Senator Haji Mohammad Adeel, Senator Zahid Khan, Senator Abbas Khan Afridi, Senator Dr Saeeda Iqbal, Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Senator Surriya Amiruddin, Senator Colonel (Retired) Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Senator Begum Najma Hameed, Senator Rubina Khalid, Senator Khalida Parveen and others also attended the welcoming ceremony.

Afghan parliamentarians from the Meshrano Jirga and Wolesi Jirga under the leadership of their respective co-chairs, Senator Baz Mohammad Zormati, Member International Affairs Commission Meshrano Jirga, and Abdul Qader Zazai, Chairman International Affairs Commission, Wolesi Jirga, led the delegation.

The visiting delegation that arrived in Islamabad on Sunday under their respective chairs included Senator Mohammad Hassan Hotak, Senator Fowzea Saadat Zamkanai, Senator Mir Bahador Wasifi, Senator Ghulam Mohaiudin Monsef, Senator Rana Tareen, Senator Lutfullah Baba from Meshrano Jirga.

Members of Afghan lower house included Ali Akbar Qasemi, Qudratullah Zaki, Gul Badshah Majidi, Syed Nader Shah Bahr, Mohammad Nazir Ahmadzai, Zakaria Zakaria, Baz Mohammad Jawzjani and Sherwali Wardak.