Sharif hopeful about improving ties with Afghanistan

Karachi : Pakistan Prime Minis­ter Nawaz Sharif has expressed confidence that bilateral relationship between Islamabad and Kabul would improve after certain decisions that were reached when he met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani are implemented.

Referring to his recent meeting with President Ghani on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Astana, Sharif said that both sides had settled certain things.

“Now, we and Afghanistan both have to implement those decisions…things are moving ahead and mutual agreements are getting decided. It would have a great impact [on relationship between the two neighbours] in case of implementation,” Dawn quoted Sharif as saying regarding frequent allegations levelled by Afghanistan against Pakis­tan.

Speaking to reporters in London outside the Pakistan High Commission after offering Eid prayers, he said the menace of terrorism was already being effectively countered with the implementation of operation Raddul Fasaad under the National Action Plan.

According to reports, Sharif and President Ghani in the Astana meeting had agreed to use the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) mechanism as well as bilateral channels to undertake specific actions against terrorist groups and to evolve, through mutual consultation, a mechanism to monitor and verify such actions.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated significantly following a terrorist attack in Pakistan’s Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine that claimed dozens of lives and which Islamabad blamed on terrorists hiding in Afghanistan.

In retaliation, Pakistan closed all its border crossings with Afghanistan but reopened the borders on March 20 following a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar in London.

Earlier in February, the Pakistan Army said that it had destroyed camps and a training compound of militants across the border in Afghanistan following which the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi handed over a list of 76 terrorists orchestrating terrorist activities in Pakistan from the Afghan soil.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have been trading charges on the issue of backing of terrorists in their respective territories for years. Neither side is willing to accept blame for the attacks or the loss of lives. (ANI)