Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Friday called on Taliban leaders and other Afghan insurgent groups to take part in a peace process to end 10 years of war in neighbouring Afghanistan.
“I would like to appeal to the Taliban leadership as well as to all other Afghan groups, including Hizb-e-Islami, to participate in an intra-Afghan process for national reconciliation and peace,” he said in a statement.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai this week again invited the Taliban for direct talks with his government, urging Pakistan to facilitate negotiation efforts in Afghanistan, where US-led combat troops are due to leave by 2014.
Taliban representatives have begun contacts with US officials in the Gulf state of Qatar designed to build confidence and pave the way for a prisoner exchange, but the militia has publicly refused to talk to Karzai’s government.
Pakistan says it will do anything required by Kabul to support an Afghan-led peace process, but there is a wide degree of scepticism in Afghanistan and the United States about the sincerity of the former Taliban ally.
“It is now time to turn a new leaf and open a new chapter in the history of Afghanistan… to build peace and bring prosperity to Afghanistan” said Gilani.
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