ISLAMABAD - State Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb Thursday said the government will continue to encourage people to people contacts and cultural exchanges with Afghanistan in a bid to promote lasting regional peace.

Speaking at a Musical Evening with Pakistan and Afghan Artists with the theme "Celebrating Culture Beyond Boundaries", she said, "we need to speak language of love and music to promote relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan."

Islamabad based Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) and Women and Peace Studies Organization in Kabul organized the cultural event at Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) here.

The minister said that Pakistan was celebrating 70th anniversary of its independence this year and it was commendable to foster dialogue through music and culture.

She said that Pakistan was grappling with terrorism for the last 35 to 40 years and its army, law enforcement agencies and people have waged a protracted battle to check terrorism in its tracks.

Since 2013, the government led by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan have successfully tackled the menace of terrorism through institutional interventions, she continued.

The minister said people especially youth in Pakistan and Afghanistan can connect and work together by sharing their common culture and heritage. She observed, "Peace is the only path to bring prosperity and achieve progress in Pakistan and across the region."

She expressed the hope that dialogue among nations would take the region forward and create conditions for harmony and mutual understanding.

In this regard, she said, people to people contacts and cultural exchanges are very important for fomenting lasting peace in the region and reinforcing efforts for establishing peace.

She said the government will continue to pursue Prime Minister's policy of peaceful neighbourhood and will encourage exchanges of parliamentarians and cross sections of societies in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan and Afghanistan share a common history and cultural values, she noted.

Marriyum said the government will promote culture and arts and facilitate the growth of broadcasting and film production through the policies that are being formulated for the first time.

The minister acknowledged the efforts and contributions of PNCA and CRSS to use culture and music as a platform to forge cultural linkages between two neighbouring countries.

Highlights of the event were a stage performance on relations between people of Pakistan and Afghanistan, video song of Jamal Shah and traditional Afghan and Pakistani music by singers of the two countries.