CM chairs conference for joint declaration on regional peace and stability

Peshawar: KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak Thursday reiterated pledge of his PTI-led coalition govt that the election promises and targets of the change agenda would be 100% achieved including paving way for durable peace. He said peace was not only essential for KP, FATA and entire Pakistan but in the whole region of South & Central Asia to march ahead on road to progress and prosperity.

He said our peace was linked with stability in neighbouring country Afghanistan adding that all entities in Pakistan must genuinely cooperate in the fight against cross-border threats and pursue its legitimate mutual interest through bilateral dialogue with Afghanistan.

He said recently hopeful signs have emerged of Pak-Afghan govts for developing basin of River Kabul and joint construction of a hydel project on River Kunar for the latter on agreement has also been signed between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He said Pakistan already provides $330 million of development assistance and this need to increase.

He was addressing as chief guest at the launching ceremony of joint Declaration on Regional Peace and Stability prepared under a track II initiative. This peace moot was organised by Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES), a civil society think tank from Germany, in collaboration with the Peshawar based Regional Institute of Policy Research & Training (RIPORT).

This peace moot was largely attended by provincial ministers, members of the provincial assembly, retired and serving civil and military officials, and representatives of various political parties and social organizations and notables as well as analysts and journalists.

The Chief Minister lauded the efforts of FES in the preparation of the Declaration that if implemented would ensure the emergence of peace not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan but also in the wider region. This he said would usher in an era of peace and economic growth that was essential for the region.

He felt that less favourable life opportunities were itself a cause of violence and insecurity over here. He said the declaration envisions a secure and independent Afghanistan post 2014 when the withdrawal of the NATO/US forces will exit Afghanistan. However he said to make such a shift without causing destabilization will require an effective transition incorporating security, political and economic transitions.

Pervez Khattak seconded major points of the declaration that emphasized the immediate establishment of a permanent national-level multi-disciplinary Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Experts Working Group with a joint secretariat.

He said it recognizes that the Afghanistan transition urgently require political participation of the armed opposition through an all-inclusive credible national consensus anchored on an electoral processes. At the moment this challenge has not been addressed.

The transition must prevent the return of terrorist and extremist acts and must not be allowed to re emerge in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was supported promotion and development of the region through economic activity and energy cooperation, increased Pakistani and regional countries roles for peace and collective security, He said all entities in Pakistan must genuinely cooperate in the fight against cross-border threats and to pursue Pakistan’s legitimate regional interest through bilateral dialogue.

Similarly he exhorted the resolution of Indo-Pakistan differences and tension that effect negatively Afghan-Pakistan bilateral relations. He welcomed a trilateral Afghan-Sino Pak cooperation concerning the Gwadar-Kashgar Corridor which aims to link Pakistan, Afghanistan and the region beyond-not only for improving physical connectivity but also to establish various industries along the corridor and lastly urged Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours to assist in the social and economic development of relevant adjacent provinces and regions of Afghanistan in the form of Special Economic Zones, in close coordination with the central and provincial government of Afghanistan.

He said that there are other good suggestion contained in the Declaration and we support them. Pakistan and Afghanistan must increase opportunities of business and trade. Pakistan- Afghanistan, civil society and educational institutions must raise level of collaboration with joint projects.

Afghanistan-Pakistan cooperation in anti-terrorism and anti-narcotics must be deepened. Both nations must ease the flow of goods and trade and people across their borders. There must be greater cultural and sports exchanges between the two nations.

He also thanked Khalid Aziz for arranging the moot and gathering civil and military brass and intellectuals for such a great cause of regional peace on this occasion.

The participants were appraised about the project endeavours and the previous launch of the Declaration in world capitals like Kabul, Istanbul, Islamabad, Berlin, Brussels, New York and Washington. KP because of its strategic location has the distinction of being first provincial level launch under this project and underlines the commitment of its government in fostering regional peace, security and economic growth.

The convener of the Pakistan Policy Group (PPG), Khalid Aziz (Chairman RIPORT) thanked the participants for gracing the historic launching of the Declaration. He also thanked the CM KP for the government’s cooperation and hospitality in support of the launching of the Declaration on Peace in Afghanistan Post 2014.

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