`Pak for Afghan-led reconciliation process in Afghanistan`

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - 00:32

Islamabad: Pakistan will support any
Afghan-led reconciliation process in Afghanistan that does not
cause instability in its territory, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani on Monday said during a visit to Qatar, where the Taliban
intend to open a political office.

Gilani made the remarks during a meeting with his Qatari
counterpart Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabar Al-Thani.

Pakistan wants a stable, prosperous and independent
Afghanistan and will "support any reconciliation process which
was Afghan-led and Afghan-owned and did not cause instability
in Pakistan", he said.

The premier appreciated the Qatari government`s
initiatives for facilitating efforts for peace in Afghanistan.
Gilani further said Pakistan wants good relations with
all its neighbours, including Afghanistan and India.

He referred to his meetings with Indian Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and said both countries were committed to
bringing peace to the subcontinent.

The Pakistani premier today began a two-day visit to
Qatar, where his discussions will focus on the Afghan
reconciliation process, including the Taliban`s plans to open
a political office in the Gulf state, and bilateral
cooperation in areas like energy and trade.

Prior to his departure from Islamabad, Gilani referred to
the regional security situation and reiterated his
government`s stance on supporting "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned
initiatives for a stable Afghanistan".

The Afghan Taliban and US officials have begun
preliminary contacts in Qatar and the militants recently
announced plans to open a political office in the Gulf state.

Gilani was accompanied to Qatar by a high-level
delegation that included Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar,
Petroleum Minister Asim Hussain and Technical Education
Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada. Cooperation between Islamabad and Kabul on the Afghan
peace process stalled after the assassination last year of
High Peace Council chief Burhanuddin Rabbani, which Afghan
officials blamed on elements based in Pakistan.

Pakistan has sought to revive this cooperation when
Foreign Minister Khar visited Kabul last week.

During the visit, Khar said Pakistan would encourage
militant groups like the Haqqani network or the Taliban to lay
down their arms if asked by Afghanistan.

At the same time, Pakistan has been making efforts to
ensure it is not left out of any reconciliation process
involving the Afghan Taliban as it wants to counter what it
perceives as India`s growing influence in Afghanistan.

Gilani and his Qatari counterpart also agreed to
collaborate in diverse areas like energy, trade, agriculture
and infrastructure development.

They discussed ways to promote trade and investment.

Pointing out the issue of finalising transnational
formalities to import Liquified Natural Gas at the earliest,
Gilani said Pakistan is interested in importing 500 million
cubic feet of LNG a day from Qatar.

Qatar`s Energy Minister will visit Pakistan this month
for talks with his counterpart in which "substantial progress"
is expected, officials said.

Gilani said more Pakistanis could help meet Qatar`s
demand for a workforce of two million people for
infrastructure projects for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held
in Doha.

He expressed satisfaction at the security and defence
cooperation between the two countries.

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 6, 2012 - 12:23

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