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Afghan peace conference

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has reiterated Paki­stan’s unshakable resolve to support lasting peace, stability and prosper­ity in Afghanistan, besides lending support to the reconstruction and development efforts in the war-torn country. In his speech at the inaugural session of the Afghan peace conference titled “Lahore Process”, he maintained that Pakistan stood for the sovereignty and territorial in­tegrity of Afghanistan and remained fully committed to a peaceful, stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan. According to media report, a number of prominent Afghan leaders including Afghan High Peace Council Chairman Karim Khalili, Gulbadin Hekmatyar, Ustad Atta Noor and others were attending the conference.

The event was backed by the Pakistani government and organised by two think tanks, the Lahore Center for Peace Research and the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute.

The conference is to be followed by meetings and working sessions over the next two days, all of which come in the run-up to Afghan Presi­dent Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Pakistan next week.

There were no representatives of the Taliban at conference, held in Bhurban. About decades-long conflict in Afghanistan, Qureshi said it had brought great sufferings to the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakistan’s perspective on Afghanistan is clear. We support an Afghanistan that is at peace with itself, and at peace with its neighbours. We respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, Qureshi added. As many as 40 veteran Afghan leaders who gathered in Bhurban agreed that intra-Afghan dialogue is essential to bring the country out of four decades of war and thanked neighbouring Pakistan for facilitating the Afghan peace process. Hekmatyar urged his fellow Afghans to press for the Taliban’s demand for a quick and full withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan. This deliberation under this event is a positive development and it is hoped that it will create positive results for the both countries. Resolution of Afghan problem is imperative for the peace and stability in the region and it is also in the best interest of both countries. Pakistan has suffered lot due to prevailing instability in Afghanistan. Enemies are constantly utilizing Afghanistan’s soil to destabilize Pakistan. International community should take sincere efforts to bring peace in war ravaged country. All stakeholders must play their due role in resolving this lingering issue as soon as possible.

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