Pakistan’s former interior minister and senior politician from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao foresees a marked improvement in Islamabad-Kabul relations in near future.
Also the Pakhtunkhwa Qaumi Party chairman, Sherpao told Pajhwok Afghan News on the periphery of the Af-Pak Youth Dialogue in Islamabad that peace in one country was directly linked to stability in the other.
While making a strong pitch for joint efforts to restore stability in the region, the ex-chief minister said: “Afghanistan and Pakistan, being two brotherly countries, should move in tandem to combat the scourge of terrorism that has affected both.”
Currently a member of the National Assembly, Sherpao believed peace could be brought to the region only if extremist forces were defeated and terrorism reined in. Peace is an absolute imperative for the two neighbours, he insisted.
He remarked terrorism knew no borders, afflicting people of all backgrounds. “I myself have escaped unhurt in four suicide attacks,” the lawmaker said, stressing the need for a combined campaign against the menace.
Also the head of the Afghan-Pakistan Parliamentary Jirga, he has been in an endeavour to bring back cordiality to relations between the two countries. He claimed Pakistan had stopped seeking strategic depth in the war-torn country.
Sherpao affirmed respect for Kabul’s sovereignty, saying there had been a positive change in the Afghan-Pakistan equation after President Ashraf Ghani came to power. “We are moving in the right direction. Both nations will hear glad tidings soon.”
The four-day conference came to an end Monday evening, with the Afghan delegation stressing closer people-to-people contacts as the best way to clear some misconceptions among youth on both sides of the Durand Line.
The youth dialogue was organised by the Pakistan Education and Development Foundation -- a training and advocacy organisation committed to the values of peace, non-violence, human rights and democracy.