ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday reaffirms support for peace in Afghanistan at inauguration of two-day trade seminar showing country’s commitment to continue playing its role in bringing peace and stability there.
Speaking at Pakistan-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Forum in Islamabad, he underscored that peace in the neighbouring country is vital to boosting trade and economic activities in the region to bring prosperity and provide job opportunities to people.
On the invitation of National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, a 17-member Afghan parliamentary delegation, led by Speaker of Wolsey Jirga Mr Rahmani, arrived in Islamabad to participate in the seminar, titled Pakistan-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Forum 2020.
The Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan has suffered the most due to decades-old unrest in Afghanistan that created differences, suspicion and mistrust between Islamabad and Kabul. “We need to ponder what lessons we have learnt from the past,” he stressed.
Prime Minister Khan voiced Pakistan’s concerns regarding India’s hostile posture towards it and the Muslims, saying Delhi could use Afghan soil to cause instability in Pakistan.
“Our government has decided to strengthen ties with Kabul, no matter who is in power, to counter India’s evil designs,” he said.
“Our future lies in better ties and trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he said, adding efforts are underway to foster ties with Afghan businessmen to benefit from each other’s experiences and give impetus to trade and economic activities.
“We have to take our country towards industrialisation and formulate such policies that lead to wealth creation in the country,” he emphasised.
PM Imran Khan said no foreign intervention in Afghanistan has ever been successful. Afghans should be left to their own devices to elect a government of their choose, he added.
“We tried very hard to befriend them […] I had many friendships [in India] because of cricket. But at one point, I understood that there was no point as they were against our ideologically,” he said, adding that what is currently happening with the Muslims in the neighbouring country has never happened before.
“So there is a fear in Pakistan that India will use Afghanistan to destabilise the country. But we have decided that we will back the wishes of the people of Afghanistan because the future of this region lies in the relationship and cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
According to a handout by the National Assembly Secretariat, lawmakers, ministers and businessmen from the two countries will attend the two-day seminar. USAID Pakistan has also extended support to the National Assembly Secretariat for organising the seminar under its regional connectivity and integration initiative.
Thematic sessions of the seminar will discuss Pakistan-Afghanistan transit trade, and investment opportunities in sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, food and livestock.
“The seminar is unique and historic keeping in view the government’s vibrant policies aimed at promoting regional connectivity and creating an environment of shared development and prosperity,” the handout said.