Political settlement only way forward in Afghanistan: PM

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday reiterated his conviction that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and a negotiated political settlement was the only way forward.

After Afghanistan, Pakistan was the most desirous of restoration of peace in that country as it was deeply affected by the conflict, he added.

The prime minister was talking to Ahmad Wali Massoud, Head of Massoud Foundation, Afghanistan, who called on him here, a press release issued by the PM Media Wing said.

He extended warm welcome to Ahmad Wali Massoud and stated that Pakistan and Afghanistan were bound by a fraternal relationship, rooted deep in shared history and commonalities of faith, culture and traditions.

The prime minister recalled the historic contribution of late Ahmed Shah Massoud, a key Mujahideen leader, during the Afghan resistance movement.

In the context of Afghan peace process, he highlighted that Pakistan had extended full support to facilitate the US-Taliban Peace Agreement and the initiation of Intra-Afghan Negotiations.

Imran Khan stressed that the Intra-Afghan Negotiations provided a historic opportunity, which must be seized by the Afghan leadership to achieve an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.

He added that Pakistan had been emphasizing all sides to work together constructively, take steps for reduction of violence leading to ceasefire, and secure a political solution for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

The prime minister underscored that the return of peace in Afghanistan would have lasting benefits for the region and beyond, through economic development, regional trade, and improved connectivity.

He further highlighted the range of steps, including introduction of a liberal visa regime, and increased facilitation in bilateral and transit trade to further strengthen fraternal ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s assistance for Afghanistan’s development efforts and human resource capacity-building would continue apace, he added.

The visit of Ahmad Wali Massoud and his delegation is in continuation of Pakistan’s policy to reach out to the Afghan leaders to further strengthen bilateral ties and enhance mutual convergence on the Afghan peace process.