Tariq Ullah Wardak
ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser has said that the stable relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan is imperative for the progress and development of both the countries. He said that enhanced bilateral Parliamentary, trade and economic cooperation is the need of the hour. Speaker National Assembly expressed these views in a meeting with Ambassador of Afghanistan Shukr Allah Atif who called on him in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The Speaker said that peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan has always been the prime objective of Pakistan’s foreign policy. He said that peaceful and prosperous neighborhood was in the interest of Pakistan.  He said that Pakistan and Afghanistan are brotherly neighboring countries intertwined in religious, cultural and historical bonds. He also termed Afghanistan, a gateway to central Asia and can link South with Central Asia.

The Speaker emphasized the need for intensifying contacts between the legislatures of both the countries. He suggested for enhancing these contacts through Parliamentary Friendship groups besides establishing contacts between Trade and Commerce Committees of both the Parliaments. The Speaker also said that he was contemplating the establishment of a Parliamentary Forum comprising Members of the Parliament from all the political parties belonging to all the four federating units for creating synergies of cooperation and better understanding between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He reiterated his earlier invitation to Speaker Afghan Wolesi Jirga to visit Pakistan along with a delegation. 

The Speaker suggested that immense Trade potential exists on either side of the border, therefore, interaction of concerned Ministries was imperative to reduce barriers in that regard. He suggested that interaction between trade and commerce committees of both Parliaments could pave the way for enhancing bilateral trade. The Speaker also suggested that Afghan students and citizen could take advantage of relaxed visa conditions for education and medical purposes.

Afghan Ambassador Shukr Ullah Atif thanked Pakistan government for its continued support to the peace process in Afghanistan. He expressed his deep sorrow over the tragic deaths of patients affected by corona in Pakistan and prayed for the early recovery of all those test positive. He said that Afghanistan attaches immense importance to its relations with Pakistan and desires to accelerate this cooperation in diverse sectors. He said that Afghan people especially have warm feelings for Pakistani people. He agreed for enhancing ties between both the Parliaments and also assured to convey invitation of Speaker National Assembly to Speaker Wolesi Jirga to visit Pakistan.

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