KABUL: Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Afghanistan on Thursday said that Pakistan will do its utmost [best] to end violence and establish peace in Afghanistan.He was holding a press conference alongside the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.”The people and government of Pakistan have only one concern, and that is to establish peace in Afghanistan because the people of the country have suffered for four decades.”He said that even though Pakistan played its role in getting the Taliban to talk to the Americans as well as engage them in the intra-Afghan dialogue, the level of violence has been on a rise in the country. PM Khan assured the Afghanistan government that Pakistan is ready to help the country in every possible way to attain peace. “We will be helping you more than your expectations,” he said.

Thanking the Afghan government for inviting him, PM Imran Khan said that he had been planning to visit Afghanistan for at least the past 50 years.”I am pleased that you have invited me to this historic city of Kabul,” the PM said. “We have historical links with your country.”President Ashraf Ghani also stressed that the people of Afghanistan want nothing but peace.”A comprehensive political settlement for enduring peace within the framework of our values and constitution in the Islamic Republic [of Afghanistan] is the way to the future,” he said. “All of us need to understand that resorting to violence is not the answer.”President Ghani also said that he would be honoured to visit the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.Strengthening bilateral tiesPrior to the press conference, the two leaders held a meeting in which they discussed ways to further deepening the fraternal bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Afghan peace process, and regional economic development and connectivity, per the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan.The two sides discussed the prospects of resumption of peace in Afghanistan following the Doha peace agreement inked between the United States and Taliban.Read more: Afghan peace talks: What’s the rush?President Ghani and PM Imran Khan also agreed to strengthen bilateral relations as the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan were linked through immutable bonds of history, faith, culture, kinship, values and traditions.The prime minister expressed confidence that his visit would help foster a stronger and multi-faceted relationship between the two brotherly countries.

Red-carpet welcome

Earlier, PM Imran was accorded a warm welcome upon his arrival at the Presidential Palace on his first official visit to the neighbouring country.

The premier has travelled to Afghanistan on Ghani’s invitation.

The move has been seen as an effort to build on sustained engagement between the two countries in recent months for enhancing bilateral cooperation in diverse fields.

The last time PM Imran and Ghani had met in person was when the latter visited Pakistan in June 2019. Before that, they had met on the sidelines of the 14th OIC Summit in Makkah, Saudi Arabia in May 2019.

The two leaders had a telephonic conversation in September 2020.

A statement from PM Office said the premier’s visit includes a head-to-head with Ghani, designation level talks and a joint press stake-out.

In this context, there have been several high-level meetings over the past few months. Besides regular exchanges between the foreign ministers, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Speaker Afghan Wolesi Jirga Rahman Rahmani and Afghan Commerce Minister Nisar Ghoraini also visited Pakistan.

The second review session of the Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) was held in Kabul on August 31.

“As part of this process, and in the run-up to the prime minister’s forthcoming visit, Adviser on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood visited Kabul from 16-18 November 2020,” said the PMO.

“The people of Pakistan and Afghanistan are linked through immutable bonds of history, faith, culture, kinship, values and traditions,” reads the PMO statement. “The Prime Minister’s visit will help foster a stronger and multi-faceted relationship between the two brotherly countries. “

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