“Peace in Pakistan is interrelated with long-term peace in Afghanistan and in spite of relying on any other country, relations between the two countries need to be strengthened through dialogue,” Afghan Ambassador Dr Omar Zakhilwal said while addressing the second round of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Dialogue on “Bilateral Reconciliation: Opportunities and Challenges” jointly organised by the Regional Peace Institute and Royal Danish Defence College at a private hotel in Islamabad.
Inaugural speech at 2nd Round of Afg-Pak Dialogue, organized by Regional Peace Institute & Royal Danish Defence College today in Islamabad pic.twitter.com/HqBzLzyqXo
— Dr Omar Zakhilwal (@DrOmarZakhilwal) September 12, 2017
“Pakistan has already reaped high cost of war on terrorism due to Afghanistan’s unstable situation, hideouts of banned TTP [Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan] with insecurity should be diminished from Afghan land,” the diplomat upheld.
Zakhilwal said the environment concerning bilateral relations was changing rapidly and numerous issues existed between the two neighbouring countries, adding Islamabad’s exclusion was against the interest of Kabul.
“The culture, history, geography and economies of both countries are interdependent and we need to ensure the integrity and self-determination of each other,” he said, adding Pakistan should also view the ties between India and Afghanistan in a positive light. “We will ensure that alliance with India will be of no harm to Pakistan.”
The Afghan diplomat went on to say that both Afghanistan and Pakistan mismanaged their own relations. “Afghanistan mismanaged it by not keeping the balance between New Delhi and Islamabad and it was a mistake. We [Afghanistan] relied on China and the US to mend our bilateral relations but never trust each other to do the same,” he said.
The ambassador was of the view that quite a few historical issues between the two nations could have been dealt with differently. “Afghanistan must ensure that its soil is not used by TTP against Pakistan and similarly Pakistan must ensure that its soil is not used by the Haqqani network against Afghanistan,” he concluded.