Bilawal calls for enhanced cooperation with Afghanistan

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday underlined the need for enhanced cooperation with Afghanistan and stressed upon the promotion of economic integration and regional connectivity.

In a meeting with Acting Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Amir Khan Muttaqi in Tashkent on the sidelines of the SCO Foreign Ministers summit, Bilawal reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment for regional connectivity and infrastructure projects, including the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline and CASA-1000.

According to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the foreign minister voiced solidarity and support for Afghan people following the destruction caused by a recent earthquake in the neighbouring country.

“Pakistan remains firmly committed to a peaceful, stable, prosperous and connected Afghanistan,” he said.

Bilawal emphasised that there was prospect of ending a four-decade long conflict and establishing sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

He also highlighted the various steps taken by Pakistan to support bilateral engagements with Afghanistan and facilitating international humanitarian assistance.

On the occasion, Muttaqi thanked Bilawal for dispatching humanitarian assistance and hosting Afghan refugees over the last four decades.

“Pakistan should consider expanding its trade with Central Asian Republics through Afghanistan, which would further promote regional peace and security,” he said.

On July 22, Bilawal addressed a ceremony at the Nur Khan Air Base, Rawalpindi to dispatch a consignment of emergency relief assistance to Kandahar and shared Islamabad’s resolve to continue its assistance and relief efforts for the Afghan people.

The consignment will support those impacted by devastating flash floods caused by torrential rains in eastern Afghanistan.

Bilawal highlighted the importance that Pakistan attaches to its relations with Afghanistan and said the two countries will devise a facilitative trade and transit regime and increase connectivity between them.

On June 21, Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed on multiple measures for the promotion of trade and commerce.

An official told Business Recorder that the two sides agreed to make all-out efforts to launch a luxury bus service between Peshawar and Jalalabad and Quetta and Kandahar by the end of next month.

It was also agreed that difficulties in visa processing would be addressed through mutual coordination.