ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Sunday said that Pakistan had faced the brunt of terrorism and was greatly affected by Afghanistan’s instability.
Terming Afghanistan as its twin brother and extending full support for the country’s peace process, the foreign secretary welcomed the upcoming Economic Cooperation Organisation’s special meeting on Afghanistan in Kabul.
Islamabad sends back 300 stranded Afghans
“Let me assure our Afghan brothers that we would continue to contribute to the ECO efforts to provide assistance to Afghanistan,” he said at the Senior Official Meetings (SOM) scheduled February 26-27 ahead of the 13th ECO summit in Islamabad on March 1.
“We are happy to host the 13th ECO summit and look forward to advancing our mutual goals in the coming days leading up to the summit,” a press statement quoted him as saying.
“Pakistan has always attached immense importance to the organisation and its objective as demonstrated by our active role in the ECO,” he said.
The theme as well as key focus of the ECO summit is “Connectivity for Regional Prosperity”.
Economic integration and connectivity are the main pillars to galvanize economic growth, create job opportunities, expand trade, improve competitiveness and usher prosperity in the region, Chaudhry said.
There is a need to create a world-class logistics infrastructure within the ECO region for speedy movement of goods and people at a reduced cost that would stimulate investment and growth.
“The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a major initiative in this regard. This is a mega project which would benefit the entire region. The economic corridor is anticipated as a game changer not only in Pakistan-China context but it would also complement the economies of the entire neighbourhood, especially the ECO region,” he said.
The fate of the ECO was hanging in balance after the recent spate of violence across the country. Advisor to Prime Minister on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz put the rumours to rest on Saturday after he announced that the moot will take place in Islamabad on the scheduled date.
Afghanistan assures action against "terrorist sanctuaries" on its soil
Pakistan last hosted the third ECO Summit in Islamabad in May 1995.
Pakistan envoy summoned
Afghanistan summoned Pakistan’s Ambassador in Kabul Abrar Husssain over the alleged "cross border shelling by the Pakistani forces."
Deputy Foreign Minister Dr Nasir Ahmad Andesha told the Pakistani ambassador that the "Pakistani forces fired artillery shells" in Shangri area of district Sarkano, Kunar province and Nangarhar's Goshta area.
Pakistani officials clarified that they only targeted the sanctuaries of Pakistani militants who operate from the Afghan side of the border.
The military shelled targets inside Afghanistan after a series of recent bomb attacks that killed nearly 100 people and injured over 300.
The TTP, Jamaatul Ahrar and Da’ish had claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The Pakistani ambassador said that Pakistani military actions were against the terrorists and militants, the statement said.
Abrar Hussain assured that he would convey concerns of the Afghan government to the high authorities.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 27th, 2017.