Gilani to visit Afghan tomorrow

Pak PM will make a two-day official visit to Afghan to boost trade and economic activities and discuss a joint strategy against terrorism and extremism.

Last Updated: Dec 03, 2010, 14:56 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani will make a two-day official visit to Afghanistan
from Saturday to boost trade and economic activities and
discuss a joint strategy against terrorism and extremism.

Gilani will be visiting Afghanistan against the
backdrop of disclosures in secret US diplomatic cables
released by WikiLeaks that have cast a shadow on relations
between the two countries.

The cables have revealed that Afghan authorities have
been sheltering nationalist leaders from Balochistan,
including Brahamdagh Bugti who is wanted by Pakistani
authorities.

Officials said Gilani and Afghan President Hamid
Karzai will exchange views on ways to "energise the Afghan
reconciliation process" which has the backing of the
international community.

Their talks "could prove decisive in bringing
opposition groups into back into the political mainstream" in
Afghanistan, they said.

Gilani is visiting Afghanistan at the invitation of
Karzai to "bolster ties to overcome regional security threats"
and review progress in joint development projects.

The two leaders are expected to focus on measures to
strengthen collaboration between their security institutions
and enhance intelligence-sharing.

Counter-terrorism, transit trade, investment,
infrastructure development, energy linkages and capacity
building in education, health and agriculture are expected to
figure in their parleys.v
Gilani will also meet leading Afghan politicians and
businessmen.

Pakistan has been backing the "Afghan-led inclusive
reconciliation process to further prospects for a peaceful and
secure Afghanistan as the US-led International Assistance
Security Force goes for a phased withdrawal starting from July
2011", the officials said.

At his last meeting with Karzai in September, Gilani
proposed a bilateral security dialogue to build closer
coordination through institutional arrangements between
security and intelligence agencies of the two countries.

The two sides will also discuss measures to eliminate
production and trafficking of narcotics which is a source of
funding for terrorists.

Last month, officials of Pakistan, Afghanistan and
Iran held a meeting in Islamabad and agreed to set up liaison
offices and open a joint anti-narcotics planning office in
Tehran.

Pakistan and Afghanistan concluded a transit trade
agreement in October.

Under the agreement, container trucks from Afghanistan
will pass through Pakistan to the Wagah border with India and
to the Pakistani ports of Karachi and Gwadar.

However, Pakistan has not allowed Indian goods to be
transported through its territory to Afghanistan.

PTI