ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to establish a joint commission as part of their efforts to enhance mutual consultation process to fight the menace of terrorism and move forward for peace and security in the region.It was decided in a meeting of Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and and his Afghan counterpart Zalmay Rassoul at Foreign Office here.The commission will have officials from the foreign offices, military and intelligence of the two countries to give impetus to the ongoing engagement process and promote understanding for peace and security in the region.
Addressing a joint news conference along with his Afghan counterpart, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said,”The process of consultation between the two countries has helped build trust and a relationship to achieve our shared objectives.” Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to eradicate terrorism.
The Foreign Minister said,”We are writing a new chapter in Pak-Afghan relations,” and added, “We discussed the entire gamut of bilateral relations, including upcoming trilateral summit in Washington.” Qureshi said that Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade agreement was also discussed in the meeting and Pakistan reaffirmed the commitment for its implementation in letter and spirit.
He said that the two sides also agreed to establish a process of consultation between the Planning Commission of Pakistan and the Afghan Ministry of Economy to work out mutually beneficial projects to enhance socio-economic conditions of their people.
Describing his talks with Pakistani counterpart as positive and productive, the Afghan Foreign Minister said that the engagement process would further strengthen bilateral relations and help achieve the objective peace in the region.
Qureshi said there had been a qualitative change in the bilateral relations of the two brotherly countries and hoped that mutual consultations would further improve them. He said both the sides discussed in detail the prospects of the forthcoming trilateral meeting being held in Washington next month.
He said, “We understand the culture and people of each other’s country. Therefore, cooperation between the two countries can play important role in promoting peace in the region.” Replying to a question regarding a trilateral meeting among Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States in Washington, Qureshi said that it would open a new chapter of political process.
Highlighting the importance of regional and international consultation to find a peaceful solution to the Afghan problem, Qureshi said that efforts being made by Turkey in this regard could not be ignored. The trilateral summits organized by Turkey helped bring Pakistan and Afghanistan more closer.
Referring to the importance of the trilateral meeting being held in Washington, both the foreign ministers agreed that international cooperation was necessary for economic development in Afghanistan. Qureshi said that the international assistance was also necessary in Afghanistan for the development projects, including completion of road and rail network and Turkmanistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.
To a question on the process of reintegration and reconciliation, Zalmay Rassoul said that those militants and Taliban leaders, who had respect for the constitution of Afghanistan, human rights, and women rights could become part of the reconciliation process on some terms and conditions. He said that the reconciliation process was very difficult.
Qureshi said,”Pakistan can play an active role and facilitate the Afghan government and people in the reconciliation process which is led by the Afghan government and owned by its people.”
He said that the mechanism should be political one with intelligence agencies on board in the reconciliation process.
Qureshi said that the contact group of Islamic countries on Afghanistan would also meet in Jaddah next month and Pakistan would actively participate in the meeting to ensure peace and security in the region. He said the menace of drug trafficking could also be resolved through regional cooperation. -APP