Islamabad, August 26, 2013 (PPI-OT): It is a great personal pleasure to welcome our special guest, President and dear brother Hamid Karzai, to Pakistan. This is his first visit since the democratic transition in Pakistan. We also extend a warm welcome to the honourable members of the Afghan delegation, said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
President Karzai is held in the highest esteem. I have fond memories of our interaction during his previous visits to Pakistan. We recognize his great contributions towards the progress and well-being of the Afghan people.
My government has assumed office with the resolve to create a peaceful external environment so that we can focus on Pakistan’s domestic priorities. Building stable and cooperative relations with all our neighbours is a vital component of this vision.
Afghanistan is not only a close neighbour but also a fraternal nation with which the people of Pakistan are bound by unbreakable ties of faith, kinship and shared history. Our security and future prosperity is linked to that of Afghanistan, in multiple ways.
President Karzai is visiting Pakistan at an important juncture in his country’s history. We wish the Afghan people well in the security and political transitions currently underway.
The year 2014 is particularly crucial for Afghanistan and this region. It is our sincere hope and desire to see this milestone crossed peacefully.
President Karzai and I have held wide-ranging talks on these and related issues of common interest. We focused on the common challenges we face and the huge opportunities before us.
I stressed to President Karzai the importance Pakistan attaches to a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan.
I also reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong and sincere support for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. We fully agreed that this process has to be inclusive, Afghan-owned and Afghan-led.
I assured President Karzai that Pakistan will continue to extend all possible facilitation to the international community’s efforts for the realization of this noble goal. Pakistan would also help reinforce regional efforts in support of stabilization of Afghanistan.
We believe this is imperative for turning the tide of conflict and instability that has engulfed our region for decades. It is also indispensable for the realization of our positive agenda of peace and development.
My government is equally committed to deepening and broadening our bilateral relations with Afghanistan. I believe the central focus of this relationship has to be a strong trade and economic partnership that serves the common interests of our peoples. Today, we have discussed in depth how we can work together to develop a robust, multi-dimensional relationship, serving the long term interests of our two nations.
Another important plank of our mutual engagement is connectivity and regional economic cooperation. We have decided to work closely to reinforce trade, energy and communications links through trans-regional initiatives. We believe these initiatives offer rich dividends for Afghanistan, Pakistan and the region.
In this regard, I am happy to announce that the Finance Ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan met yesterday. They held comprehensive discussions aimed at pursuing various economic and connectivity projects. These projects will give a tremendous boost to the economic development of the two countries and provide enormous benefits to the people of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the region. Some of the agreed projects are:
a). Communications projects, including the early completion of Torkham Jalalabad additional carriageway and the initiation of other highway projects.
b). Power projects, including the early implementation of CASA 1000 and development of a joint hydel power project on the Kunar River.
c). Rail projects, including the establishment of new rail links to connect Torkham and Jalalabad as well as Chaman to Spin Bolduk.
In addition to the above economic and connectivity projects, we have agreed to the early and full implementation of Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement.
I conclude by stressing that constructive engagement between Afghanistan and Pakistan is good for both countries, good for the region, and good for the world.
I have no doubt that President Karzai’s visit to Pakistan will help our two countries advance the shared objectives of peace, progress and prosperity in the region and beyond.
For more information, contact:
Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Ch
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan