ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday terming terrorism and extremism as the common enemy of Pakistan and Afghanistan called for a collective approach to combat the menace.
Inaugurating the Ministerial Conference of Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process, the Prime Minister also called for early finalization of border management SOPs to contain terrorists’ movement across the border.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan has always emphasized a holistic approach for bringing lasting peace to Afghanistan.
“It is our firm belief that a robust and meaningful reconciliation process owned and led by Afghans, is vital for long term peace and stability in Afghanistan.”
He said, “Pakistan is ready to extend support to a meaningful process, wherein both the Afghan Government and the Taliban can move forward, in a spirit of accommodation and reconciliation.”
Sharif reiterated Pakistan’s commitment and desire to facilitate the resumption of the stalled reconciliation process.
He also appreciated the support of friends for the Afghan reconciliation process.
“We believe that the association of China and the US in the reconciliation process has been instrumental in moving the process forward. Pakistan looks forward to continued engagement in achieving positive results in the reconciliation process.”
The Prime Minister said the Government and the people of Pakistan have demonstrated an unflinching resolve to uproot the menace of terrorism and violent extremism from their soil.
“The consensus-based military operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ and the National Action Plan have been remarkably successful in our campaign against terrorism and extremism (and) are delivering desired results.”
The Prime Minister was the co-host of the fifth Ministerial Conference, being attended by high-ranking delegations from 14 Participating States, 17 Supporting Countries and 12 International and Regional Organizations.
The theme of the Conference is “Enhanced Cooperation for Countering Security Threats and Promoting Connectivity in the Heart of Asia Region.”
President Ashraf Ghani in his remarks identified the elements driving the conflict in his country including the Daesh, and the Taliban groups, both within Afghanistan and in the region.
“We are fighting against terrorists on behalf of all you, but the entire Afghan nation is suffering.”
He mentioned the “vicious attack” by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan at a school in Peshawar and said the Afghan government has till now launched 40 operations against the perpetrators.
He called for a mechanism of regional cooperation to check the criminal groups and deal with the network.