PM Imran jets off to Kabul on maiden visit

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday left for his maiden trip to Afghanistan on the invitation of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the prime minister boarded a special plane for Kabul at Nur Khan airbase.According to the Foreign Office, PM Imran’s visit schedule includes tete-e-tete with President Ghani, delegation-level talks, and joint press stake-out. The focus would be on further deepening fraternal bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Afghan peace process, and regional economic development and connectivity, spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said.

PM Khan’s visit is part of regular high-level exchanges between Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said and added that it will be the first visit of PM Imran Khan to Afghanistan.

President Ashraf Ghani had last visited Pakistan last year in June. Earlier, the two leaders had a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 14th OIC Summit in Makkah in May 2019. The prime minister also had a telephonic conversation with President Ashraf Ghani in September 2020.

The PM’s visit builds on the sustained engagement between the two countries in recent months for enhancing bilateral cooperation in diverse fields. In this context, besides the foreign minister’s regular exchanges with his Afghan counterpart, there have recently been important visits from Afghanistan to Pakistan of Chairman High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Speaker Afghan Wolesi JirgaRahman Rahmani, and Commerce Minister Nisar Ahmad Ghoraini, the press release added.

As part of this process, and in run-up to the prime minister’s forthcoming visit, Adviser Commerce and Investment Razaq Dawood visited Kabul on 16-18 November 2020 and held in-depth discussions on bilateral trade and investment ties and matters related to transit trade.

The people of Pakistan and Afghanistan are linked through immutable bonds of history, faith, culture, kinship, values and traditions. The premier visit to Afghanistan will help foster a stronger and multi-faceted relationship between the two brotherly countries.