PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Pakistan has promised continued support for the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, stressing an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement in the war-torn country.
The assurance was held out by President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday when he met Hezb-i-Islami (HIA) chief Gulbadin Hekmatyar at his office in Islamabad.
Earlier, the visiting Afghan politician held talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan and National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser. On Monday, he met Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
President Alvi stressed the neighbours, having strong historical, cultural and religious bonds, must further strengthen bilateral cooperation to the benefit of their peoples.
He assured Pakistan would continue to stand by the Afghan nation in difficult times and contribute to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.
While underlining the need for and stability in Afghanistan, the president argued durable peace in the neighbouring country would benefit the entire region.
Alvi hoped the ongoing intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha, which have been stalled for weeks, would help bring stability to Afghanistan.
However, the president warned of the spoilers who were out to scuttle the peace process once again. He called upon Afghan leaders to seize the opportunity to ensure durable peace in their country.
For his part, the HIA chief commended Pakistan’s efforts for the promotion of the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s assistance to Afghan refugees, opening of the border for transit and bilateral trade during the Covid-19 pandemic and the revised visa policy for Afghan nationals also came under discussion.
Meanwhile, Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri hoped Hekmatyar’s visit would help advance the peace process and open a new chapter in the relationship between two countries.
Speaking to Radio Pakistan, he said: “Islamabad has always supported a peaceful, stable, united, democratic, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan.”