Pakistan committed to Afghan peace: Qureshi

Islamabad: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has reiterated Pakistan’s unshakable resolve to support lasting peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan, besides lending support to the reconstruction and development efforts in the war-torn country.

In his speech at the inaugural session of the Afghan peace conference title “Lahore Process” in Bhurban Murree , he maintained that Pakistan stood for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and remained fully committed to a peaceful, stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan.

The Minister said “we are determined to build our bilateral relationship on the principles of non-interference, mutual respect and common interest.”

A number of prominent Afghan leadership including Afghan High Peace Council chairman Karim Khalili, Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, Ustad Atta Noor and others were attending the conference.About decades’ long conflict in Afghanistan, the minister said it had brought great sufferings to the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He said no one has suffered more than the people of Pakistan due to this persistent instability and conflict.

Linking Pakistan’s security with the instability in Afghanistan, Qureshi said it continued to be deeply influenced by the security situation in Afghanistan.“Advancing the cause of peace and stability in Afghanistan is, therefore, in Pakistan’s own national interest,” he reiterated, adding mutual ties between the two countries were based upon principles of non-interference, mutual respect and common interests.

He further clarified that no one in Pakistan subscribed to any notion of so-called ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan.“We must not let anyone resurrect this dead horse to advance their propagandist aims or seek to sow the seeds of misunderstanding between us and our Afghan brethren,” he added.

Qureshi said they wanted to see a friendly Afghanistan governed by an elected leadership and representative of the aspirations of all Afghans.About the previous mistrust between the two neighbours, he said for too long, the vicious circle of mistrust, often fed into by their common enemies, had affected their relationship.

“It is indispensable to move away from this negative paradigm,” he emphasized.

The minister said Pakistan whole-heartedly facilitated the Afghan peace process in good faith and as a shared responsibility and would continue to play its due role in this regard.