Pakistan PM appeals Afghan groups to end fighting

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Feb. 24, IRNA -- Pakistan Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, on Friday appealed to the Afghan Taliban, Hizb-e-Islami (Hekmatyar) and other Afghan resistance groups to participate in an intra-Afghan process for national reconciliation and peace, the Prime Minister's office said.

“It is now time to turn a new leaf and open a new chapter in the history of Afghanistan. It is time to now combine the strengths of the Afghan people in a true spirit of our noble religion – Islam and in accordance with the glorious traditions of the Afghans to build peace and bring prosperity to Afghanistan,” the Prime Minister said in a statement.

Prime Minister Gilani issued the appeal while responding to the request from Afghan President, Hamid Karzai on February 21st, it said.

“The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, His Excellency Hamid Karzai, in an important statement on 21 February 2012, has appealed to Pakistan to support the peace process in Afghanistan. This is an important statement and Pakistan is duty bound to respond positively to the appeal of President Karzai,” the Prime Minister's office said.

“In this spirit, I would like to appeal to the Taliban leadership as well all other Afghan groups, including Hizb-e-Islami, to participate in an intra-Afghan process for national reconciliation and peace”.

Karzai traveled to Islamabad on February 16-17 for bilateral talks and attended trilateral summit, which also involved Iran.

Gilani said it is Pakistan’s sincere hope that the Taliban leadership, Hizb-e-Islami and all other Afghan political leaders will respond positively to his appeal and agree to enter into direct negotiations in the framework of an intra-Afghan process for reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan.

“Pakistan, on its part, will support such an authentic Afghan process and is prepared to do whatever it can for its success”.

Gilani also appealed to the international community to support fully national reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan.

“We also believe that the process of national reconciliation must be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. It is imperative to promote an intra-Afghan consensus for a durable political settlement that accords with the aspirations of the people of Afghanistan, as a whole”.

Gilani said Pakistan has always held that there is no military solution to the problems of Afghanistan, adding Islamabad has also stated that it is important to create conditions conducive for a grand intra-Afghan settlement, based on national reconciliation that involves the Afghan people without any distinction.

He appreciated the important initiative taken by President Hamid Karzai and wished the intra-Afghan process every success.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80003611

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