Visiting Pakistani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said in a meeting with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) deputy prime minister Abdul Salam Hanafi on Thursday that opportunities should be used and that the two countries should “not be involved in the mistakes of the past”.
According to a statement issued by Hanafi’s office on Tuesday night, Khar met with the deputy prime minister and with Shahabuddin Delawar, the minister of mines and petroleum, as well as a number of other IEA officials.
Hanafi pointed out at the meeting that “Afghanistan and Pakistan have long-standing historical, religious and cultural relations and we want to further expand relations between the two countries.”
He said Afghanistan is the bridge between Central and South Asia and “we are ready to cooperate for the implementation of big projects such as TAPI, TAP, CASA-1000 and the Peshawar-Kabul-Tirmaz railway line”.
He also said: “We are trying to mechanize the coal trade, and for this purpose, a competent inter-ministerial joint committee has been established. Also, the National Committee of Ports has been assigned to provide facilities in the field of trade and transit.”
Hanafi encouraged Pakistani investors to invest in Afghanistan in mining, energy and agriculture sectors and added that the Islamic Emirate wants Pakistan’s cooperation in the fields of visa facilitation for Afghans and the release of Afghan prisoners.
Meanwhile, Khar said: “We don’t know of countries that have a lot in common like Afghanistan and Pakistan,” adding that after 40 years, many opportunities have been provided in Afghanistan – opportunities beneficial to both countries.
Emphasizing that Pakistan respects the territorial integrity of Afghanistan, Khar stated “we should not be involved in the mistakes of the past. We must create a good environment for expanding business relations and people-to-people contact and turn challenges into opportunities.”
Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan, also said: “We respect the territorial integrity of Afghanistan and since security has been ensured in Afghanistan, we should work and invest more for the welfare and comfort of the citizens of the two countries and focus on solving the problems.”