By Tahir Khan
KABUL: Pakistan and Afghanistan will hold Track-II dialogue in Kabul today (Friday) to explore ways to improve relations between the two neighbouring countries, organizers here said.
The unofficial dialogue will take place amid signs of improvement in relations as both governments are making efforts to remove the mistrust.
Pakistani delegation led by Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, member of the National Assembly belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), arrived in Kabul on Thursday.
The dialogue is part of Pakistan-Afghanistan Track 1.5/ II initiative titled: “Beyond Boundaries”, which started in October 2015 as part of efforts to help improve relations between the two countries and enhance people-to-people contacts.
Pakistan ambassador Zahid Nasrullah hosted a reception for the Pakistani and Afghan delegates at the embassy and lauded the efforts at the unofficial level to bring the people closer.
Earlier, the ambassador briefed the Pakistani participants on the relationship between the two countries. He said Pakistani embassy issues up to 1,600 visas to Afghan nationals every day to facilitate them travel to Pakistan for trade, education and treatment. Similarly, the Jalalabad embassy also issues more than 1,500 visas every day.
Members of the dialogue will also hold meetings with Afghan leaders including Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, former President Hamid Karzai and several ministers.
Both sides will review policy recommendations of the previous meetings and review of political and other significant developments in Pak-Afghan relations- both negatives and positives- between now and last meeting held end of March, 2017.
They will also share views on how to work jointly and build on the positives and Peace and Reconciliation Strategy.
There will also be interactive discussion on Trade and Transit Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan and repercussions of frequent Pak-Afghan Border closures, re-openings, losses to businesses and traders, and the way forward.
Both sides will also have interactive discussion on other important bilateral issues including refugees, latest on ground realities, role of Pakistan and Afghanistan media in Bilateral Relations and addressing misperceptions through dissemination of positives instead of focusing on negatives only.
The delegation includes Lt General (Retd) Asif Yasin Malik, former Secretary of Defense, Dr. Shoaib Suddle, former police chief of Balochistan and Karachi, Qazi Humayun, former ambassador to Kabul, Mian Sanaullah, former ambassador to Indonesia, Ms. Seema Ilahi Baloch, former ambassador to Poland, Rehman Azhar is a Pakistani anchor, Zahid Hussain, an analyst and writer, and Faiza, Executive Director / Secretary General of Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI).
Shazia Marri, MNA and Senator Shibli Faraz will join the delegation on Friday. Toaha Qureshi, International British Expert will chair the session.
Meanwhile Daily Times has learnt that an Afghan parliamentary delegation is scheduled to visit Pakistan later this month. The visit has long been due and was postponed for at least two times because of the tense relationship.
Published in Daily Times, December 15th 2017.