We're Live Bangla Tuesday, December 01, 2020



Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday that the incumbent Indian government is the worst example of fascism despite its tall claim of being the largest democracy, adding that international organisations and the United Nations (UN) have started to raise concerns over the Kashmir issue.

The prime minister said that the Narendra Modi-led Indian government is bent upon inflicting atrocities on innocent Kashmiri people, saying minorities have been under continuous suppression. “It [lockdown] is the worst example of suppression and barbarity,” the premier said.

Amid opposition parties’ mounting pressure on the Kashmir issue, the premier said that the incumbent government has always raised the issue on every regional and international forum and would continue the same until the resolution of the Kashmir issue as per the United Nations Security Council resolutions. “Now international organisations and UN have started to raise their concerns over Kashmir issue,” he expressed.

PM Imran expressed these views while inaugurating a two-day seminar on Pakistan Afghanistan Trade and Investment Forum, 2020, in Islamabad.

In his speech, the PM said that “peace in Afghanistan is inevitable for regional peace and prosperity” and trade and economic links will open a new era of cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Hoping that seminar would go a long way in boosting trade cooperation between Islamabad and Kabul and both sides would be able to build a long-lasting mutually beneficial relationships, PM Imran recalled that Pakistan and Afghanistan have been enjoying cordial relations for centuries and both countries share religious and cultural traditions. He said that Afghanistan has been facing the scourge of war for four decades and the war and conflict bore heavy losses in terms of both human resources and poverty.

Imran said that the future of both the countries depended upon their unity, mutual trade and enhanced economic interlinks. He stressed on facilitating Afghan trade and investors as both countries have vast potential of investment and economic activities, which would bring regional prosperity and development.

Referring to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Imran said that both the countries can become the hub of trade and business due to CPEC. He reiterated that the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process has been the chief concern of the incumbent government and no other country in the world can take a credit equal to Pakistan in its efforts to maintain peace in Afghanistan.

He lauded the efforts of Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser for bringing both the countries together on the mutual interest of trade, investment and business as people-to-people contact are vital for regional progress and development.

Speaker Wolsi Jirga(Afghan Parliament) Mir Rehman Rehmani applauded the efforts of the Pakistani government to support Afghanistan for bringing peace in Afghanistan. The Speaker of the Afghan parliament said that Afghanistan highly values its ties with Pakistan as both countries enjoy shared religious and cultural values and Afghanistan is proud of its close relations with Pakistan.

Rehmani remarked that there is a need to capitalize on the potential of both countries as both have vast opportunities of trade and investment. Wolsi Jirga Speaker said that both the countries can progress and develop together by mutual cooperation.

He appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan government to facilitate the Afghan transit trade as now it takes three days in the clearance of a container on border, adding that opening new border points for trade would further facilitate the traders.

In his address, Speaker Asad Qaisar said that promotion of trade and economic links between Pakistan and Afghanistan would usher into new era of socio-economic development and would help bring people of the two sides more closer.

Speaker NA said that 2,640 Kilometers Pak-Afghan border is not only the longest border that Pakistan shares with any of its neighboring country, it is also the thread which weaves our two nations into a historic tapestry of social, cultural, linguistic, economic, religious and fraternal ties.

Qaiser said that Pakistan values the common bond that binds Pakistan and Afghanistan together and it is important for the leadership of two sides to create harmony, develop understanding and build consensus amongst ourselves to seek solutions of our common problems. He called for building a united front against the biggest scourges of the time, especially, poverty and instability.

He observed that Pakistan and Afghanistan are strategically significant trading partners however, trade between the two countries gradually declined and eliminating trade barriers along with facilitating traders would not only enhance the trade volume between Pakistan and Afghanistan but would also greatly contribute to poverty eradication and social uplift.

“Such initiatives will also increase employment opportunities for our people and decreasing non-tariff barriers on both sides of the border will enhance mutual trade” Qaisar said.

He pointed out that establishment of Pakistan-Afghanistan Parliamentary Friendship Group and its Task forces for encouraging people-to-people contact and facilitate bilateral and transit trade is a manifestation of Pakistan’s commitment to improving bilateral economic engagement with Afghanistan.

He proposed formation of a taskforce to oversee the terms of negotiation of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), which is going to expire in 2021, saying there is a need to take input from parliamentarians and institutional stakeholders from both sides of borders for a comprehensive future trade agreement.

Qaisar reiterated Pakistan’s commitment in terms of promoting Parliamentary diplomacy and said that Pakistan is ready to play its role in mounting strong linkages for mutually beneficial trade relations with Afghanistan.

Addressing the participants, Speaker National Assembly remarked that a peaceful economic cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan and improved trade and transit facilities would help to connect Arabian Sea shipping lanes with Central Asia.

He further remarked that Pakistan’s support for Afghan peace process and Intra-Afghan negotiations has been acknowledged by the Afghan government as well as the international community and “we reiterate our continued support for the peace process.”

“The level of participation in this forum from both sides fills us with hope for the future of our relations” Qasair said while expressing gratitude to the leader of Afghan delegation and other participants for attending seminar.