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Pakistan PM urges Afghan leaders to 'seize historic opportunity’


Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Afghan leaders must seize “this historic opportunity to achieve an inclusive political settlement contributing to durable peace, security and prosperity in Afghanistan”.

The premier remarked while highlighting Pakistan’s positive contribution to the Afghan peace process during a telephonic conversation with Afghanistan's Chairman High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah on Wednesday.

The development comes a day after Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had a meeting with the visiting Taliban Political Commission (TPC) delegation, headed by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, at the Foreign Office. The head of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Faiz Hameed was also present in the meeting.

The visit of the Taliban delegation comes against the backdrop of efforts for early commencement of intra-Afghan dialogue – a crucial phase of the peace process. According to a handout issued by the FO, views were exchanged on the current status of the Afghan peace process and the way forward during the meeting.

PM Imran also invited Abdullah to visit Pakistan, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFa).

During the phone call between the two leaders, the prime minister emphasised importance of Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations, which are based on commonalities of faith and culture, shared history, and fraternal bonds between the two peoples.

The statement said that the premier reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to further deepen these brotherly ties and enhance cooperation in all fields.

He also underlined his long-standing belief that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a negotiated political settlement was the only way forward.

"Pakistan looks forward to the commencement of Intra-Afghan Negotiations at the earliest," the MoFa statement quoted the prime minister as saying.

He extended best wishes to Dr Abdullah Abdullah as Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation and expressed the hope that the council will successfully achieve its objectives.

The premier reiterated the invitation to Dr Abdullah Abdullah to visit Pakistan at the earliest to share perspectives on advancing the Afghan peace process and forging closer ties between the two countries.