Pakistan keen to continue work with Afghanistan: Sartaj Aziz

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is keen to continue working with Afghanistan in pursuit of connectivity and energy projects linking Pakistan with Central Asia.

The Prime Minister’s Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs‚ Sartaj Aziz said this while addressing a seminar on ‘Afghanistan Reconnected: Linking Energy Supplier to Consumers in Asia’ organised by East West Institute in Islamabad Tuesday.

The Advisor said discussions are also continuing on extending Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) to Tajikistan by finalizing the Tripartite Agreement under consideration of the three sides.

He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has clearly underlined the government’s priority in terms of addressing our energy needs in the short and long term. He said we are keen on working with Afghanistan as a conduit for energy supply.

Sartaj Aziz said a peaceful‚ stable and prosperous Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s vital national interest. We remain committed to supporting efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan in an inclusive‚ Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process.

He said the Prime Minister has presented a vision of a peaceful and prosperous neigbhourhood‚ with stable and cooperative relations with all our neighbours including Afghanistan.

He said last week’s visit to Pakistan by President Karzai at the invitation of the Prime Minister was part of this vision. The visit was helpful in building trust‚ enhancing mutual understanding‚ reaffirming the commitment to work together to promote peace and reconciliation‚ and determining ways to strengthen bilateral relations.

Sartaj Aziz said Afghanistan has invited Pakistan for a joint investment in the Kunar Hydro Power project whose design and feasibility have been completed. The project will produce 1500 MW electricity to be shared by the two countries. He said Pakistan and Afghanistan would pursue with World Bank the early finalization of 170 KM Torkham-Jalalabad new rail link connecting Peshawar with Jalalabad. The two countries are also working on 11.5 KM Chaman-Spinbolduk rail link that ultimately connects Chaman with Kandahar.

He said long term support of the international community for Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development is crucial for reinforcing the efforts for peace and reconciliation. NNI