ISLAMABAD, SEPT 30 – Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the Chairman, Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) appreciated Pakistan’s efforts with regards to Afghan peace process and also the recent string of confidence building measures from Islamabad. He specifically mentioned Pakistan beefing up trade infrastructure along the Pak-Afghan border to boost bilateral trade and the announcement of new visa policy.
The Chairman was speaking at a roundtable event organized by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) in Islamabad, earlier today.
Dr. Abdullah said he had wanted to visit Pakistan for a long time, and was concluding his trip in Pakistan today with a very positive impression and hope in his heart.
He also said Pakistan and Afghanistan have the opportunity at hand, to begin a new era of bilateral relations, based on mutual respect and shared prosperity. The ongoing negotiations offer a window of opportunity. Peace and prosperity in both Pakistan and Afghanistan are interdependent. He said there is a need to go beyond the rhetoric and the usual blame game, as one cannot afford to pursue dissolution.
Imtiaz Gul, Executive Director CRSS titled Dr. Abdullah Abdullah as a “Man for Peace”. He also informed the plenary that CRSS has tried to keep the issues of public interests alive through cross-border dialogues and built pressure for their resolution. Gul also thanked Dr. Abdullah Abdullah for his mediation for smooth functioning of Pakistan’s sponsored projects within Afghanistan, over the last few years.
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah also appreciated CRSS efforts, stating that in the last five years, even when the two sides had a very acrimonious relationship, CRSS always kept the door open for dialogue and cooperation.
Regarding the intra-Afghan negotiations, he said that after 42 years of war, the Afghan government and the Taliban are sitting across the table; that in itself is historic. There is no maiden prescription for the future of Afghanistan; we have to work it out with a broad-based consensus.
He said that there is a sense of urgency than ever to look towards our region as one. We need to take into account the current geo-political shifts and draw necessary lessons. Our collective goal should be to reduce tensions, promote moderation, increase regional connectivity, trade, transit, economic integration, business to business and more importantly, people to people interactions.
Lastly, he apprised the participants about his meetings with Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan Asad Qaiser and Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani. He termed meetings and overall mood of these parliamentary institutions very positive. He would take this mood back to Kabul and hoped for increased parliamentary interactions between two sides.
The roundtable was attended by Dr. Shoaib Suddle, Former IG Police; Shandana Gulzar Khan and Mehnaz Akbar Aziz, Members National Assembly, Pakistan; Ambassador Tasnim Aslam, Ambassador Asif Durrani, Ambassador Sanaullah, Ambassador Qazi Humayun; Samina Durrani, Trustee, CRSS; Ayaz Gul, Tahir Khan, Rehman Azhar, Hasan Khan – senior journalists, and Zeeshan Salahuddin, Program Director CRSS, along with Afghan guests and officials accompanying Dr. Abdullah Abdullah.