Qureshi discusses Border Markets with Afghan Counterpart

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had a telephone call with his Afghan Counterpart Hanif Atmar on Mondy and discussed matters of mutual interests.

Highlighting Pakistan’s policy to strengthen trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Qureshi drew Hanif Atmar’s attention towards the proposed establishment of Border Sustenance Markets.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi underlined that it was a special initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan to boost local trade and economic activity in the border regions.

The foreign minister expressed hope for the earliest finalization of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Reiterating Pakistan’s consistent support to a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan, the foreign minister underlined that the intra-afghan negotiations (IAN) provided a historic opportunity for the Afghan leadership to achieve an inclusive, broad-based, and comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan.

Qureshi expressed concern on the high level of violence in Afghanistan and emphasized progress in the IAN which would also facilitate the reduction in violence, leading to a ceasefire.

The minister said that the intra-afghan negotiations had provided a window of opportunity for the return of lasting peace in Afghanistan.

The foreign minister maintained that Pakistan has always held that there is no military solution of the Afghan conflict and a political settlement is the only way forward.

Qureshi reiterated that Pakistan would continue to play its positive role towards supporting the Afghan Peace Process and strengthening bilateral relations with Afghanistan.

During the call, Qureshi also raised the issue of Pakistani prisoners who had been languishing in Afghan jails over minor crimes. He expressed the hope that prisoners would be released as per the Presidential decree, providing them an opportunity to return back to their families.