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Islamabad attempts to bandage relations with Kabul

Islamabad: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is expected to visit Islamabad on December 9 for the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process which is being jointly hosted by Pakistan and Afghanistan.

According to the Dawn, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was attending the Paris Climate Summit, said that a warm welcome awaits Mr.Ghani in Islamabad at the Heart of Asia Meeting on December 9.

The two-day meet, scheduled for December 8 and 9, is expected to be attended by the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and UAE.

Till now, there were doubts about President Ghani visiting Islamabad, given the breakdown of the reconciliation dialogue in July between the Afghan Government and the Taliban, which was facilitated by Pakistan.

The disclosure about Mullah Omar’s death in Pakistan by Afghan intelligence agency ahead of the second round of talks scheduled for July 31 further increased tensions and led to a cancellation of a planned meeting.

The subsequent rise in violence in Afghanistan added further to the bilateral mistrust.

President Ghani has on multiple occasions accused Pakistan of acting against his country’s interests and not doing enough to neutralise terrorist bases on its soil from where attacks have been launched on Afghanistan.

During Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif’s recent visit to Washington, considerable progress was made on the issue of resumption of ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan, after Pakistan and the United States agreed to work together for the revival of the Afghan peace dialogue

The United Kingdom also played its part in arranging the Ghani-Sharif meeting.

In an interaction with President Ghani shortly before the trilateral meeting, Prime Minister Sharif ‘offered Pakistan’s good offices to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process’. (ANI)