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The Gulbuddin Hekmatyar says Afghans consider Pakistan as a second home

The Veteran Afghan politician and Hezb-i-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

The Gulbuddin Hekmatyar says Afghans consider Pakistan as a second home

The Veteran Afghan politician and Hezb-i-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who arrived in Islamabad on a three-day visit earlier on Monday said Afghans think of Pakistan as their second home a report issued by the Foreign Office said.

Hekmatyar made these comments during a meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the FO.

During the meeting the two discussed matters of mutual interest joint relations between the two countries and the Afghan peace process, the statement added. The foreign minister said Pakistan will continue to play the role of a catalyst in the Afghan peace process

The Prime Minister Imran Khan has said lasting peace can only be achieved through a political conclusion accepted by the people of Afghanistan Qureshi said adding that he was pleased that Islamabad’s stance was now being recognised by the world.

The Intra-Afghan talks provide a unique opportunity to the leadership for establishing lasting peace in the country the foreign minister said.

During his visit the Afghan leader is expected to meet President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan in addition to Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and National meeting Speaker Asad Qaiser among others.

He is also expected to speak at a programme of a policy think-tank where he will interrelate with the media.

In a statement issued on Sunday the FO had said Hekmatyar’s visit would provide an prospect for exchanging views on the Afghan peace process, strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries as well as people-to-people interaction.

Hekmatyar who twice served as Afghan prime minister in 1990s, had recently said that India, due to its competition with Pakistan, was dissatisfied with the peace process in Afghanistan and it had started supporting local militias to act as spoilers of the peace process.

The China and Pakistan have a common and coordinated position on Afghanistan and not only do they support the peace process, rather they see it as beneficial for their regional happiness, especially if it leads to a reduction in India presence in Afghanistan  the Afghan leader had said.

Hekmatyar’s visit comes a few weeks after Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National settlement Dr Abdullah Abdullah visited Pakistan.

Hours before returning to Kabul after completing his three-day visit the Afghan leader had said: We had good discussions extensive discussions with authorities civilian and services and in most of the case for example on the need for reduction in violence, the need for getting to ceasefire on the need for showing flexibility… we are on the same page.

Abdullah visit his first to Pakistan in his new role was meant to seek Islamabad’s cooperation for what he had supposed in his speech at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad to see the process through to the next stage.

For that to happen an equal emphasis was placed by both sides on exploring possibilities for improving Pak–Afghan bilateral ties that had been marred by mistrust and rancor for a long time. Both sides by the end of the visit suggested that ground had been prepared for turning the page in bilateral relations.

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