Kabul visit

FOREIGN Minister Shah Mehmoud Qureshi paid his first foreign visit to Kabul on Saturday and vibes emanating from there indicate that meetings with the Afghan leadership had gone well with both sides agreeing to work together, strengthen contacts and further enhance reconciliation process for the cause of peace and security.
The very statement made by Qureshi soon after talks is very encouraging. He described his visit to Kabul advantageous, one that faded away clouds of fear. With this remark he probably meant that both the sides put across their point of view on certain issues in a frank, candid manner and certainly talks held with sincerity of purpose could help resolve most complex and difficult issues and this is the path that both the countries need to take forward to meet common challenges. Both the countries are close neighbours bonded by common faith, culture and history. Though these relationship has seen many ups and downs and marred by misunderstands and mistrust but no machination of the enemy has succeeded to break the bond of love and brotherhood that exists between the very peoples of two countries. And this provides a strong platform to leadership of both the countries to address their misunderstandings in a cooperative manner through consultations.
The Foreign Minister has made a good beginning by choosing Kabul as the first foreign destination for the visit and one expects that the process of consultations and engagement will be taken forward in a sustained manner to achieve progress not only on peace and security related matters but also give impetus to trade and economic relations. In early August this year, Pakistan and Afghanistan also held inaugural meetings of the five Working Groups under the Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) in Kabul, and this process must be taken forward in order to promote cooperation in different fields. The visit of Afghan President Ashraf Gahni as well as Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah is long overdue and now there are reports that they will visit the country next month. These high level visits must take place as per the schedule as these will prove to be beneficial in removing many misunderstandings in bilateral relationship.
As regards Afghan peace process, Pakistan has a clear stance that military solution of Afghan conflict is impossible and the only viable way out is reconciliation process — one that is Afghan led and Afghan owned. The Afghan president Ashraf Ghani himself on many occasions has supported the peace process and offered unconditional talks to the other party. The will is there and it is time to give practical shape to it, and it can be done by reviving the QCG process which also involves the US and China. This process had earlier brought the Taliban for negotiations and there is no reason that they cannot be wooed to restart negotiations to bring an end to the asymmetrical war. The Afghan people have already suffered a lot due to prolonged conflict. It is time to end their miseries by making a genuine and honest effort for peace in Afghanistan, and the role of the US in the whole affair will determine whether it is interested in peace or wants to further prolong the war.

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