KABUL: Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz flew to Afghanistan on Sunday to invite President Hamid Karzai to Islamabad as part of a charm offensive designed to improve strained relations and help peace efforts with the Taliban.
Aziz is the most senior member of Pakistan's new government to visit Afghanistan.
"I have brought a message of cordiality and goodwill for Afghanistan," Aziz told a news conference in Kabul.
"The main purpose of my visit, as some of you may know, is to convey a formal invitation from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to President Karzai to visit Pakistan."
Around 100,000 US-led foreign troops fighting the Taliban are due to leave Afghanistan next year just months after Afghanistan presidential elections in April.
Karzai is ineligible to run for re-election after serving a maximum two terms.
"We wish Afghanistan a success for those two important milestones," Aziz said, reiterating Islamabad's support for an "Afghan-led" peace process with the Taliban.
"For us, a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan," he added, calling for a "close relationship" with Afghanistan.
The West considers Pakistan's support vital to achieving lasting peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
But relations between the two neighbours are mired in mutual distrust and accusations over the Taliban violence which plagues both countries.
Nawaz kept the foreign affairs portfolio under his own control after winning the May general election. But Aziz, an elder statesman who served as a minister in the 1990s, is effectively the foreign minister.
Taliban office in Qatar
Earlier this week Karzai's chief of staff Karim Khorram claimed that a Taliban office which recently opened in Qatar was part of a plot to break up Afghanistan, orchestrated by either Pakistan or the United States.
Pakistani officials have said that Aziz's talks in Kabul will focus on ways to promote reconciliation in Afghanistan since the Doha office opened on June 18.
It was initially hailed as a first step towards a peace deal after 12 years of war, but a furious Karzai slammed the office as an unofficial embassy for a Taliban government-in-exile.
The Taliban have since claimed to have temporarily closed the office, blaming "broken promises" by the Afghan government and the United States.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ
@shahid Person like Karzai should be left alone for a year or so, till end of 2014, and then see that RAT run for cover
Kid you dont know about politics dont get into it else you will get personal then you start insulting a honorable and repsected leader of a great and brave nation!
I am just surprised how ET release your comments which tells us about your black heart full of hate and the like of it. Mr Karzai will not run anywhere he will stay there after 2014 you dont have to worry and count the days. Worst case scenario if he run then it is not something new, we saw many of pakistani leaders ran away to UK USA Arab and other countries so dont make it a big drama now!
@Arif Baluch: Well said, brief, to the point and effective.
@Uza Syed: I really did not critically analyze your other comments but only read them but could not make my mind about them. But I would say this comment on Karzai was excellent.
Not your problem kid. india is a hostile nation. Afghanistan needn't be
This is a great gesture by the PMLN Government to restore peace & prosperity in the region. The hawkish vested interests may not like it but at the end it is always regional peace that brings prosperity for the masses.
@Shan Say: He He! ----just sometimes, haan? Still, thanks for reading.
@Uza Syed: As usual, this government has the habit of kissing hinds of Hindus in BHA-RATS and their illegitimate RAT in Afghanistan, this Karzai trash; Both Aziz and Fatemi are the used up empty vessels and most incompetent nincompoops who have never contributed to elevate the honor of my country. This is a punishment of God on Pakistan to have adunce, a dummy as PM, and donkeys as his advisers. Person like Karzai should be left alone for a year or so, till end of 2014, and then see that RAT run for cover; begging Pakistan to take him back and provide shelter in Quetta as was done earlier provided home, money, security and honor to him, his family and his parents;
You can flatter Karzai but fed on Indian diet and philosophy, he won't budge.
@Uza Syed: Wonderful comments. Sometimes you excel.
This is just so great, one day Mr. Karzai will abuse us like anything and next day he will get an invitation in person by our would be President. Spineless and amazing!
@Uza Syed: Diplomacy 101: Read body language, at joint press conference, not lips.
What is this nonsense? Pakistani senior diplomat flying all the way to extend invitation to 'His Royal Highness' to honour us and extend his grace to us the cursed. This is as ridiculous exercise as it can be. What would Sartaj Aziz do next, send our Prime MInister with an official delegate to fly there and pick up this little man with huge ego. If Sartaj Aziz and Fatmi wish to play masseurs to massage Mr Karazai's ego, then let me warn them both, they would need a life time as Mr Karzai sems to possess an ego that is larger than a dinosaurs' body. Surely, there are better things for us to do than attend to Mr Karazis psychological needs. Come on people, be real!
“For us, a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan,” +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Stadard line since times immemorial. Proof of the pudding is in the eating!
"But relations between the two neighbours are mired in mutual distrust and accusations " +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Applies equally to neighbours on both sides. How unfortunate for Pakistan:)
During the previous Govt all PM visits used to be accompanied by the COASC. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ His absence on this trip will rob the discussions of any credibility.