As leaders gathered in the holy city of Makkah to attend an extraordinary summit of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), President Asif Ali Zardari and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai took the opportunity to discuss their troubled neighbourhood and relationship on the sidelines.
The summit has been convened by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to discuss the challenges facing the Muslim community and to forge unity and solidarity among the Muslim world.
The Pakistani and Afghan presidents discussed bilateral ties, regional situation and the peace process in Afghanistan.
Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Muhammad Naeem Khan were also present at the meeting.
President Zardari assured his Afghan counterpart that Pakistan would continue to extend all-out support for peace, stability and socio-economic development of Afghanistan.
Since Pakistan and Afghanistan are linked with historic, cultural, religious, and neighbourly bonds, the destinies of the two nations are intertwined, President Zardari was quoted as saying. He said Pakistan considers Afghanistan’s peace and security as its own peace and security, adding that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan was also in Pakistan’s interest. The two leaders were unanimous in the view that all groups should shun violence and join the peace process in Afghanistan. They also exchanged views on issues of international importance and the challenges facing the Muslim community.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2012.