Pakistan, Afghanistan to hold religious talks

Pakistan and Afghanistan will hold a conference of religious scholars in Kabul in January to seek their help in the Afghan peace process, officials said after Friday’s ministerial talks here.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar assured her Afghan counterpart Zalmay Rassoul that her country will continue to play the role of a facilitator in the peace process.

“Pakistan will pursue the track which the Afghans choose for itself,” Xinhua quoted Khar as saying at a joint press conference.

Khar said both the countries face common challenges of terrorism and narcotics, and collective efforts were required to deal with the challenges.

Referring to the bilateral trade currently at $2.5 billion, Khar hoped the extension of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement to Tajikistan and then to other central Asian countries will help exploit the strategic position of Afghanistan in enhancing regional trade.

Rassoul said his country will never allow its soil to be used against Pakistan, while Kabul will do everything possible to avoid the damage coming from the Pakistan side.

He said shelling into Pakistan from Afghan side has reduced significantly recently and both the countries need to work together to sort out the issues.