ISLAMABAD: Several Pakistani politicians and parliamentarians are planning to visit Afghanistan in a bid to reduce tensions between the two neighbouring states.
“Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal has agreed to a proposal under which Pakistani politicians, MPs, and media persons will visit Kabul for detailed discussions with President Ashraf Ghani and other senior leaders,” said a source familiar with the discussions.
The deepening Pak-Afghan divide
Though no actual date has been set for the visit, one leader who is part of the delegation said “it could take place this month but all depends on the messages from Kabul.”
The Express Tribune has also learnt that a senior Afghan High Peace Council member Haji Din Mohammad visited Islamabad and met Aftab Sherpao as part of efforts to improve relations between Islamabad and Kabul.
“Although Haji Din was on a private visit to Pakistan, Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar and another senior official mandated him to meet Sherpao to explore ways to remove mistrust,” the sources privy to the development said.
Analysis: The grim reality of Pak-Afghan relations
Members of the Pak-Afghan parliamentary group have also asked National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq to invite his Afghan counterpart to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Zakhilwal on Sunday urged the Taliban to follow the example of Hizb-e-Islami and strike a peace deal with Kabul, a day after the UN Security Council lifted sanctions on the former warlord and mujahideen leader.
“I hope the rest of our armed opposition also responds affirmatively to the wishes and aspirations of our war-torn and agonised nation for peace,” the ambassador said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2017.
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