On July 19, 2012, Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf visited Kabul to discuss avenues of further cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Detailing the outcome of the meeting, the following is a joint statement made by the Islamic Republics of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Joint Statement between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the Occasion of the Visit to Kabul by His Excellency Raja Pervez Ashraf, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
At the invitation of His Excellency Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, His Excellency Raja Pervez Ashraf, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, visited Kabul on 19 July 2012.
President Karzai congratulated Prime Minister Ashraf on being elected as the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and assured him of the Government of Afghanistan’s continued cooperation in a broad range of areas between the two countries.
The two leaders held in-depth discussions on various issues pertaining to bilateral cooperation, and re-affirmed the historical, cultural and religious bonds of friendship that exist between the two countries. Both leaders agreed that maintaining a strong, robust and independent bilateral relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan was their mutual priority as it would contribute to the stability and prosperity of the region.
Both sides stressed on the need to work together in the various fields of security, development, transit, trade, economic and investment linkages, mining, infrastructure and energy connectivity and people to people contacts. They recommitted to their shared vision to advance regional peace and stability and, in this context, reaffirmed their strong commitment to eliminating the scourge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
The two leaders discussed the Afghan peace process in great depth, renewing the commitment by the two countries to work together towards an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process involving the Taliban, Hezb-e-Islami and other armed opposition groups.
The two leaders shared the view that the expressed desire and determination of the Afghan people to put an end to violence and bring lasting peace to their country, as affirmed in the Peace Jirga of July 2010 and the Traditional Loya Jirga of November 2011, must be complemented by result-oriented regional and international cooperation. In this context, both sides expressed the hope that Pakistan’s support to the Afghan peace process would contribute to durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Recalling the successful visit of President Karzai to Islamabad in February 2011, which remains a milestone in the history of bilateral relations, the Afghan side welcomed and expressed appreciation for the steps being taken by Pakistan in support of the Afghan peace process, including the public call on the Afghan armed opposition groups to participate in the reconciliation process to achieve long-term peace, stability and progress in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani side reaffirmed its support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned inclusive peace process, and underlined its determination to redouble efforts in facilitating direct intra-Afghan contacts and negotiations. The two leaders committed to implement additional concrete steps to advance Afghan peace and reconciliation. Both sides agreed to facilitate a conducive environment for the peace and reconciliation process to move forward.
The two leaders also recognized the importance of pursuing multiple channels of communication and contact with the Afghan Taliban and other armed opposition groups. In this context, they emphasized international support for the Afghan peace process and, in particular, welcomed the efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Turkey and other countries.
To ensure the timely follow up of the efforts in support of the Afghan peace process, the two sides highlighted the role of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council and looked forward to a successful visit to Islamabad by the Chairman of the High Peace Council. Both sides also agreed to resume regular meetings of the two-tier Afghanistan-Pakistan Peace Commission.
With a view to advancing regional cooperation in all its dimensions, the two leaders recognized the importance of regional organisations and fora, including the various trilateral and quadrilateral processes involving Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries. In particular, the two sides welcomed the progress on regional confidence-building through the Istanbul Process and emphasized that enhanced cooperation between Afghanistan and its near and extended neighbors on issues such as narcotics, regional trade and connectivity will create an environment for long-term stability and prosperity. The two leaders looked forward to the upcoming meeting of the Afghanistan-Pakistan-Russia-Tajikistan Quadrilateral Summit in Islamabad later this year.
Highlighting the many complementarities of the two countries in promoting economic development and integration between them and with the wider region, the two sides reaffirmed to broaden their cooperation in the economic sphere, including the full implementation of all bilateral agreements, such as the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) and the creation of Special Economic and Industrial Zones. The two sides agreed to extend APTTA as a first step to Tajikistan as part of the overall effort to promote regional economic cooperation. Both sides also emphasized the importance of early finalization of the process for establishment of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, the speedy implementation of the CASA-1000 power transmission line, and enhancing connectivity and upgrading rail and road infrastructure between the two countries.
The Afghan side expressed its gratitude to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for hosting Afghan refugees for the past three decades. Both sides expressed support for the creation of conditions conducive to the voluntary and safe return of refugees in a dignified and orderly manner, as well as continued international support to Pakistan as a host nation.
The Afghan side expressed gratitude for Pakistan’s participation at the Chicago and Tokyo conferences on Afghanistan, and for its pledges of long-term support to Afghan security and development efforts.
Prime Minister Ashraf thanked President Karzai for the warm hospitality extended to him and the Pakistani delegation during their visit to Kabul.
19 July 2012