Nawaz meets Ghani, Putin; discuss terrorism, bilateral ties

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Astana

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani held an unscheduled meeting on Friday on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana.
Sources said the two leaders did not have a meeting scheduled but one was squeezed in on Ghani’s insistence. The meeting, which lasted for around an hour, about 40 minutes more than the schedule time, was held at the suite of the Afghan president in the Ramada hotel, where the premier is also residing.
The prime minister’s adviser on foreign affairs, Sartaz Aziz, also attended the meeting.
Sources revealed that issues related to terrorism, border fencing and regional security were discussed between Ghani and Sharif.
According to reports, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told the Afghan leader that Pakistan’s territory is not being used against any country for terrorism. He said the country has zero tolerance for terrorism. He told the Ghani that if Kabul government has any proofs, those must be shared with Pakistan regarding presence of Haqqani network in Pakistan.
The Prime Minister also conveyed to Ashraf Ghani Pakistan’s concerns about presence of leadership of Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan who launch attacks on Pakistani side of the border and demanded their return.
Nawaz Sharif said that peace in Afghanistan is important for the region and Pakistan stands ready to play its role for peace in the war torn country. He emphasised that blame game would not serve any purpose and must be stopped.
The reports further said that the two leaders expressed their desire to improve bilateral relations. The Afghan president also presented traditional Afghan gifts to the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also held a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana on Friday.
Matters pertaining to bilateral interest particularly cooperation in diverse fields came under discussion during the meeting.
The Russian leader congratulated Pakistan for becoming a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
The prime minister and the Russian President discussed issues of mutual interests and bilateral relations during the meeting.
Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir were also present at the meeting.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday also met with the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.
During his 45-minute meeting with the UN chief, issues related to Pakistan’s role in the war on terrorism and the ongoing diplomatic crisis in the Gulf region came under discussion. The UN chief also congratulated Pakistan on attaining permanent membership of the SCO, and hoped the move will bring more prosperity to the region.
The Prime Minister also drew attention of the UN Secretary General about grave situation in Indian held Kashmir and sought the world body’s intervention to mitigate the sufferings of Kashmiri people.
He pointed out that the UN and international community was committed to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir as per the UN resolutions.
UN Secretary General expressed his concern over the situation along the LoC and said the world body was ready to mediate on Kashmir if both India and Pakistan agree to it.

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