Pakistan committed to move forward on regional connectivity, says FM Qureshi at 9th HoA-IP Ministerial Conference

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DUSHANBE, Tajikistan: The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan is committed to move forward on regional connectivity and energy projects such as the Central Asia-South Asia Transmission Interconnection (CASA-1000) and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.

In his address at the 9th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process in Dushanbe on Tuesday, Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s contribution towards Afghanistan’s development and said that besides facilitating the Afghan peace process Pakistan has been extending all possible support to Afghanistan.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Pakistan has committed US$ 1 billion for Afghanistan’s development and reconstruction out of which nearly US$ 500 million have already been spent on infrastructure and capacity building projects. He told that a new visa regime has been instituted to facilitate travel.

The minister reiterated Pakistan’s continued support for a peaceful, stable, united, democratic, sovereign, and prosperous Afghanistan.

The foreign minister said that the deliberations at the Conference will be meaningful and productive and the Dushanbe Declaration will reflect our resolve to support and stand by the Afghan people at this most consequential time in their history.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Afghan people have a historic opportunity for establishing peace in their Country. However, he expressed concern over the violence in Afghanistan, saying that precious lives are being lost due to violent incidents in the Country.

Qureshi said that Pakistan consistently urged the Afghan people to remain constructively engaged for securing a positive outcome. He urged the Afghan people to take the process forward through good faith, substantive and result-oriented negotiation.

Also Read: FM Qureshi holds separate meetings with Afghan president, FM in Dushanbe

Mentioning the negative role of spoilers in the Afghan peace process, the foreign minister said that Pakistan has consistently cautioned against the role of the spoilers both within and outside Afghanistan. He said that we remain deeply concerned about the continuation of firings across Afghanistan resulting in the loss of precious lives. He said that any space gained by ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan will accentuate the threat of terrorism.

Expressing concern over the risk posed by the damaged infrastructure in the war-torn Country and lack of economic opportunities, he said that these factors will undermine the gains made in the peace process.

Qureshi said that the signing of the Doha Agreement was a moment of hope and optimism and it must be our collective endeavor to ensure that this hope is not lost.

For this, he added that everyone will have to show every bit of patience, commitment, and perseverance, adding that constructive engagement and consultation on all key aspects is imperative.

The foreign minister also suggested that the progress made on the Doha Process should be consolidated preserving the international community’s adjustment and the development gains made over the years, ensuring an orderly and responsible withdrawal making sure that reduction in violence and ceasefire is achieved at the earliest, culminating the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process into a political solution, securing the international community’s financial engagement to support Afghanistan in its post-conflict path to progress.

The minister said that the process should also include the long-term reconstruction and economic development for Afghanistan creating pull factors for the Afghan refugees to return to their homeland with dignity and honour through a time-bound and well-resourced plan.

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