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جمعہ، 17 ستمبر، 2010

Pak-Tajik road-link through Wakhan strip

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani on Thursday urged Afghanistan to consider a road-link between Pakistan and Tajikistan through Wakhan strip to facilitate the eventual Trilateral Transit Trade Agreement (TTA) between the three countries.
Talking to Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the PM House, Gillani said Pakistan and Afghanistan must endeavour to realise the benefits of trans-regional development cooperation.
The PM said both the countries should attach particular importance to two declarations on 'Directions of Bilateral Relations' signed between them as well as the 'Trilateral and Coordilateral Process'. 
He emphasised that Pakistan-Afghanistan strategic partnership holds key to regional peace, stability and the prosperity of their two peoples. 
He stated that both sides should redouble their efforts to alleviate the relations of the strategic partnership and expansion of cooperation in economic and commercial areas by enhancing goodwill through people to people contacts. 
The PM suggested initiation of bilateral security dialogue between the two countries to build closer coordination through institutional arrangements between the security and intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Afghanistan to effectively combat the threat of terrorism and extremism.
Referring to the WikiLeak reports, the PM said such doubtful reports vitiating Afghanistan-Pakistan relations should be guarded against by avoiding blame game and addressing the issues and concerns bilaterally instead of negative media comments.
The PM assured Karzai of his government's full support in initiation of an inclusive political reconciliation process by Afghanistan and establishing of a High Level Peace Council to talk to the Afghan opposition groups. 
He emphasised that Pakistan had consistently stated that military operations alone could not restore peace and stability and hence international community needed to follow a holistic approach combining military, political and development tracks in Afghanistan.
Gillani said Pakistan on its part was ready to support Afghan government in the process, if required.  
He said Pakistan would continue to focus on the development of Afghan infrastructure particularly by undertaking projects linking the border areas, capacity building of Afghan institutions, provision of increased slots in professional and technical institutions to Afghan students and officials, and promoting overall trade and economic plans between the two countries. 
He assured the Afghan president that Pakistan would fast track the process of finalisation and signing of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement in the near future.
The Afghan president welcomed Gillani's assurances for early finalisation and signing of Afghan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), for redoubling scholarships for the Afghan students and for provision of increased slots for them in Pakistan's professional colleges as well as for higher number of training slots for Afghan officials in Pakistan's training institutions.
Afghan president assured the prime minister that his government would favourably consider the road link between Tajikistan and Pakistan through Wakhan strip and was keen to develop regional cooperation through road connectivity providing access to Pakistan to Central Asian States as well as energy linkages through Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline. 
He informed the prime minister that as soon as the composition of High Level Peace Council was finalised, his government would enter into consultations with Pakistan to adopt coordinated approach in reconciliation and rehabilitation process with Afghan opposition groups. 
He also agreed with the prime minister on the need for strengthening the tripartite dialogue between Afghanistan, Pakistan and ISAF forces and for not allowing any deliberate or otherwise to spoil the cordial relations between the two sides.
President Karzai invited the prime minister to undertake official visit of Afghanistan in the near future which the PM accepted and it was agreed that the time frame of the visit would be decided through diplomatic channels.

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