Afghanistan must check anti-Pak activities on its territory:

What this government has failed to realize that problem is in Afghanistan but root cause is not Afghanistan. Prime minister must also deliver same message to US administration, Pentagon and NATO who have remained complicit in insurgencies in Pakistan from Afghanistan.
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Pakistan and Afghanistan Friday highlighting the importance of peace and security in the region agreed that it was imperative not to allow their territories to use against each other’s interests.

According to joint statement issued following the conclusion of two-day visit of Afghan Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmai Rasoul to Pakistan, both the countries reaffirmed their commitment to enhance cooperation and coordination bilaterally as well as within the framework of regional and international agreements to counter terrorism.

They emphasised the need to strengthen further economic and commercial ties and to facilitate trade and transit, with a view to realising the full potential of the two countries.

Dr. Zalmai Rasoul visited Pakistan on the invitation of Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi

It was Dr. Zalmai Rasoul’s first bilateral visit to Pakistan as the Foreign Minister of Afghanistan after assuming this position earlier this year.

During his two day visit, Dr. Zalmai Rasoul called on President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani and discussed with them matters of mutual interest.

The two Foreign Ministers held in-depth discussions on a wide range of issues of mutual interest in an atmosphere of cordiality.

They focused especially on the threat of terrorism, extremism and militancy, bilateral cooperation in political and economic fields and regional and international issues of common concern.

They recalled the Joint Declaration between Pakistan and Afghanistan on Directions of Bilateral Cooperation signed in January 2009 in Islamabad.

They further recalled the visit of Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to Pakistan in March 2010 noting that the visit had helped to open a new chapter in Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations.

They noted in particular the “Joint Declaration on Next Steps in Afghanistan-Pakistan Comprehensive Cooperation” signed duringthis visit, which provided a solid basis for multi-disciplinary cooperation.

They reiterated that bilateral relations of the two countries were based on respect for each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs.

Both the countries agreed to take all possible steps to increase the current volume of bilateral trade (currently US$1.5 billion) to US$5 billion by 2015 as agreed during President Karzai’s visit to Pakistan on 10-11 March 2010.

The two Foreign Ministers reiterated their commitment towards an early finalisation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement.

Dr. Zalmai Rasoul provided a detailed briefing on the outcome of the Afghan Peace Jirga, held at Kabul on 2-4 June.

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi congratulated Dr. Zalmai Rasoul on the successful conclusion of the Afghan Peace Jirga.

He reaffirmed Pakistan’s full support to the roadmap announced by President Hamid Karzai and to the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process of reconciliation.

He reaffirmed further Pakistan’s commitment to work closely with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as well as the international community for sustainable peace, stability and development in Afghanistan.

Qureshi assured all cooperation and assistance to ensure the success of the forthcoming Kabul Conference, scheduled for 20 July.

The two Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction over the current state of bilateral relations but felt that various institutional frameworks needed to be evolved to give further impetus to bilateral cooperation in various areas.

They also agreed to that the two Foreign Ministers would meet twice a year while Additional Secretary/Deputy Foreign Minister level meetings may also be held twice a year for more detailed discussions.

They agreed that parliamentary exchanges complement political level interaction and promote people-to-people contacts as well as build mutual trust and confidence, therefore, they decided that parliamentary exchanges should be encouraged to the extent possible.

The ministers decided to establish a “Joint Education Commission” to facilitate and coordinate bilateral cooperation in the field of education. The Commission will be co-chaired by Ministers of Education on annual basis.

The ministers agreed to establish a “Joint Commission on Border Cooperation and Visa Regime” to facilitate and oversee the cross-border movement of humans and vehicles. Ministers of Interior will co-chair this Commission once a year.

In order to facilitate the exchange of visits of journalists, poets, writers, musicians and artistes, they agreed to establish a “Pakistan-Afghanistan Information and Cultural Foundation” to be co-chaired by Information Ministers.

Taking a cue from a decision reached during President Karzai’s visit to Pakistan in March this year, the Ministers agreed to operationalise the “Silk Route CEOs Forum” through the meeting of the Chambers of Commerce and Industries and the private sectors of the two countries on the sidelines of the next high level visit from either side.

The ministers also agreed to operationalise, in pursuance of a decision reached during President Hamid Karzai’s visit to Pakistan, a “Pakistan-Afghanistan Reconstruction Consortium” through the first meeting in Islamabad of the Boards of Investment and Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the two countries.

The Forum could identify the reconstruction projects in Afghanistan for funding by Pakistan out of the amount pledged by the government for this purpose.

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