ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said Pakistan remained firmly committed to a peaceful, stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan.
Addressing the inaugural session of Afghan peace conference titled ‘Lahore Process’ at Bhurbhan in Murree, Shah Mahmood Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s unshakable resolve to support peace, stability and long-term prosperity of Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan supported an Afghanistan that was at peace with itself, and at peace with its neighbours. Pakistan respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, he said.
The federal minister said Pakistan was determined to build bilateral relationship on the principles of non-interference, mutual respect and common interest.
“After the Afghan nation, no one has suffered more than the people of Pakistan due to this persistent instability and conflict. Advancing the cause of peace and stability in Afghanistan is, therefore, in Pakistan’s own national interest,” he said.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said we wished to see a friendly Afghanistan, governed by an elected leadership and representative of the aspirations of all Afghans.
The foreign minister said for far too long, the vicious circle of mistrust, often fed into by our common enemies, had affected our relationship. “The blame-game has not helped either of us. It is indispensible to move away from this negative paradigm.”
He stressed both side to take pragmatic steps to build mutual trust and confidence. He said the two countries must not allow their respective territories to be used by anyone to the detriment of our interests.
“Pakistan and Afghanistan have the same objective of long-term peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region,” he said.
FM Qureshi said politically negotiated settlement was the only way forward to resolve Afghan conflict.
He said Pakistan’s support had been crucial in overcoming the political stalemate that looked impossible to break just a year ago.
“In addition to playing our role in the peace process, Pakistan also remains committed to the Afghan reconstruction and development efforts, post-settlement,” he said adding that the nation stood ready to help Afghanistan through trade, investment, connectivity and capacity-building of the Afghan people.
He said Pakistan also wished to work with Afghanistan, and the world community, to help create conditions that enable dignified, safe and voluntary return of Afghan refugees to Afghanistan.
Senior Afghan politician Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said Pakistan and Afghanistan could jointly end the Afghan war. “The war has been imposed on citizens of Afghanistan,” he said.