Pakistan to join Ashgabat Agreement, Lapis Lazuli Corridor

Published: November 26, 2016

In an attempt to normalise ties, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday held a one on one meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of Global Sustainable Transport Conference in Ashgabat.

The premier reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm commitment to the efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan, said a statement of the PM’s House.

In this regard, he stressed on the need for enhancing bilateral political interaction, security coordination, trade and transit, connectivity and people to people exchanges.

Emphasising that politically negotiated settlement through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process is the most viable option for lasting peace, Nawaz said that Pakistan would continue its efforts to facilitate the process. He also expressed support to the peace agreement between the Afghan government and Hizb-e-Islami.

The deepening Pak-Afghan divide

The two leaders also discussed the need for cooperation to combat the scourge of terrorism, terming it a common enemy and a serious challenge to peace in both the countries and the region. The premier stressed that eliminating this menace required effective coordination between security, intelligence and counter-terrorism institutions of the two countries.

Nawaz and Ghani also agreed on the need for continued engagement in other areas, including coordination for smooth, safe and dignified repatriation of Afghan refugees and their sustainable reintegration. President Ghani thanked Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees for more than three decades.

Later, addressing the conference, PM Nawaz announced that Pakistan is set to join the Ashgabat Agreement and Lapis Lazuli Corridor.

Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif spoke to Afghan Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah over the phone, DG ISPR Asim Bajwa confirmed. According to Bajwa, Gen Raheel made a ‘farewell call’ to Abdullah.


“Gen Raheel is also scheduled to call Ashraf Ghani,” Bajwa told The Express Tribune in a text message.

The two-day Global Sustainable Transport Conference began in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on Saturday to highlight the fundamental role of sustainable transport in fighting climate change.

[brid video=”80863″ player=”7247″ title=”PM Nawaz Ghani discuss regional issues in Ashgabat”]

Addressing the conference, PM Nawaz said, “Regional connectivity and economic integration are key pillars of Pakistan’s policy.

Will China be able to sort out Pakistan and Afghanistan’s differences?

“Development of transport sector is Pakistan’s top priority,” he said, adding that Pakistan can become the centre of regional ties.

The premier said peaceful neighbourhood has remained the norm of Pakistan’s foreign policy and no development policies can yield fruit without peace and security.

The conference will discuss role of integrated and sustainable transport including rail, aviation, ferry and maritime in supporting the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.

Pakistan is keen on improving connectivity with Central Asian States by establishing transport and communication links. These links will be conducive to tap the potential of trade, economic interaction, people-to-people contacts and tourism.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (3)

  • amit
    Nov 26, 2016 - 1:53PM

    good pakistan should find its place in central and southwest asia and India should turn towards regional integration of south and southeast asia along with its efforts to connect to central asia through Iran. there is nothing to achieve by engaging with pakistan.Recommend

  • JKhan
    Nov 26, 2016 - 4:18PM

    Somehow I don’t feel comfortable with “one on one” meeting of Nawaz Sharif with any foreign leader!Recommend

  • Humza
    Nov 27, 2016 - 7:01AM

    @JKhan: Why ? Are you afraid that Pakistan will develop another CPEC type arrangement?
    After all Nawaz has done more to improve Pakistan’s economy in 3 years than Zardari in 5 years or Musharraf in 10 years. Think about what the world says about Pakistan’s economy now and why international financial houses have upgraded Pakistan’s rankings.Recommend

More in Pakistan