ISLAMABAD: Asserting that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict, Adviser to the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has called for a politically negotiated settlement for lasting peace in Afghanistan. There was no military solution to the Afghan conflict and there was need of focused efforts for a politically negotiated settlement for lasting peace in Afghanistan,” Aziz said while briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Pakistan remained committed to continued efforts for facilitating an Afghan-owned Afghan-led peace process,” he added. He said that Pakistan is pursuing a policy of strengthening relations with Afghanistan. Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan was working on modernization of the visa system and facilities at border crossing points with a view to further enhancing people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
According to a statement issued by the Pakistan’s Foreign Office, Adviser Aziz informed the Standing Committee that the government was also focusing on efforts to increase facilities for Afghan students in Pakistan’s educational institutions to further deepen the cultural and educational linkages between the two sides. In this regard, the government has announced another 3000 scholarships for Afghan students in the field of higher education after utilization of the existing 3000 scholarships,” he said. Sartaj Aziz urged the Afghan government to convene the next meeting of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority at the earliest for revising and strengthening APTTA.
Underlining the importance of close engagement between the two sides on connectivity projects in infrastructure and energy, Aziz said that $500 million economic assistance from Pakistan could be utilized for initiating these connectivity projects. Describing terrorism as a common threat, Sartaj Aziz said that the bilateral mechanism recently agreed between the two countries provided an opportunity for engagement to address the issues of counter-terrorism and border management. Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been in hot waters with both countries accusing each other of not doing enough to tackle terrorists on their soils.