ISLAMABAD: The Afghan leadership and the people of the war-torn nation want better relations with Pakistan, said a member of a Pakistani parliamentary delegation after returning from the neighbouring country.
The 15-member delegation of all parties in both houses of Parliament paid a two-day visit to Afghanistan and met with top leaders, including President Ashraf Ghani and his predecessor Hamid Karzai. National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, who led the delegation, told media on his return today that the aim of the visit was to reduce tension between the two countries.
Sadiq talked about “heart-to-heart” meeting with President Ghani which lasted for over five hours and meeting with other leaders in Kabul.
“We saw a desire among the Afghan leadership, elected members of parliament and the Afghan people for better relations (with Pakistan),” he said. Sadiq said Afghan leadership and the people showed a lot of respect to the delegation of Pakistani parliamentarians.
“Our dialogue proceeded in a pleasant environment. They provided us with every comfort and gave us the respect that is given not only to a neighbouring country, but to a brother,” he said.
Sadiq said that the two sides discussed the importance of bilateral dialogue and the high-level visits to increase trust between them. He said former president Karzai and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah will soon visit Pakistan.
The speaker said that both sides realise that peace and good relations between the two countries will help to build lasting peace in the region. “If there is peace in Afghanistan, there will be peace in Pakistan,” Sadiq said.
Sadiq said he delivered a letter of condolence by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the Afghan president over Mazar-e- Sharif attack in which nearly 200 soldiers were killed.
The visit of parliamentary leaders came days after a top-level army delegation visited Kabul last week to express solidarity after deadly Mazar-e-Sharif attack. Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan are low after a series of terrorist of attacks in the two countries for which both sides blame each other.