Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met with leaders of the interim Afghan government on Thursday, where he announced in-kind aid of Rs 5 billion in addition to announcing multiple measures to facilitate border movements and trade.
The Foreign Minister, on his first visit to Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover, met with Acting Prime Minister Mulla Hassan Akhund, Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Hanfi and other cabinet members to discuss the issues relating to trade, visas, flights and the movement of persons.
After his one-day visit, the foreign minister told the media that he also interacted with his counterpart Amir Khan Muttaqi, the finance minister, Mullah Hidayatullah, the defense minister Yaqub Mujahid and others. acting members of the cabinet.
Qureshi said during the meeting with Afghan leaders that bilateral issues were discussed to facilitate the Afghan people and trade to avoid any humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country.
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He said as a result of the Afghan side’s objection, the condition of the laissez-passer was removed, the visa on arrival introduced for medical and emergency cases, the requirement of the COVID PCR test was removed and the NADRA service charge of $ 8.18 was also suspended until December 31 of this year.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising the Secretary of Commerce, senior security officials, President PIA, customs members of the FBR, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Special Representative of Pakistan, l Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq.
Foreign Minister HE Shah Mehmood Qureshi welcomed a visit to Kabul for the strengthening of fraternal neighborly relations between two countries. Thank Afghan FM HE Muttaqi for the warm welcome@SMQureshiPTI@ForeignOfficePk@FMPublicDiploPK@PakinAfg pic.twitter.com/M2TOAGSS1M
– Mansoor Ahmad Khan (@ambmansoorkhan) 21 October 2021
Bilateral issues were discussed in sub-working groups attended by Pakistani officials and their Afghan counterparts.
The foreign minister told reporters that due to trade facilitation, Afghan businessmen will be issued visas upon arrival. In addition, the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul has also been empowered to issue five-year multiple entry visa to businessmen in order to facilitate bilateral trade.
The foreign minister told Afghan leaders that Pakistan has decided to allow duty-free importation of fresh fruits and vegetables from Afghanistan to support the economy and farmers.
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Experts on both sides would also consider defining zero-duty items as well as others for tariff reduction.
Likewise, he said that the Afghan side also expressed its willingness to consider reducing tariffs for Pakistani exports.
For the pedestrian crossing, the border crossing time had been increased from eight to twelve hours and 24 hours a day for commercial trucks. In addition, at entry points, special lanes would be set up for trucks transporting perishable foodstuffs.
Afghan Prime Minister Mullah Muhammad Hasan Akhund received FM Qureshi in Arg. Bilateral talks underway in the presence of key Afghan ministers to facilitate people-to-people interaction, trade, transit and connectivity between two sister nations@ForeignOfficePk@PakinAfg pic.twitter.com/ngI2mH0eoP
– Mansoor Ahmad Khan (@ambmansoorkhan) 21 October 2021
Qureshi said the Afghan government has made it clear that it will not allow the misuse of Afghan soil by the TTP, BLA and others against Pakistan.
He said he could not hold pre-scheduled meetings with Hamid Karzai, Dr Abdullah Abdullah and Gulbadin Hikmatyar; he spoke to them by telephone about his discussion with the interim government.
He said the Afghan side greatly appreciates Pakistan for hosting millions of refugees for years. When asked about the return of Afghan refugees, the foreign minister said that while Pakistan wanted them to return with dignity, such a request was legitimate, especially amid the frozen assets of Afghanistan and the situation. humanitarian aid and winter conditions to come.
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Qureshi said he reiterated Pakistan’s clear position that the Pakistani nation stands by the side of the Afghan people during this difficult time and will play its part in addressing the current humanitarian and economic challenges.
He told the media that an Afghan delegation would also travel to Pakistan for a follow-up meeting to resolve outstanding issues.
Regarding regional connectivity projects, he indicated that the Afghan side expressed its full support in this regard.
The foreign minister said he had also briefed the Taliban leadership on the expectations of the international community and suggested ways to gain their recognition.
Referring to the announcement of Rs 5 billion in-kind aid, he said Pakistan would donate pharmaceuticals or any other property of Afghanistan’s choice.
He said the Afghan government was keen to strengthen trade ties with Pakistan.
To a question, he said the Taliban were concerned about the brain drain, although they said they did not discriminate against government officials, even those who served under the previous regime.
Regarding a question of recognition by Pakistan, he said Pakistan’s solo step would not help, but needed a collective approach. On the issue itself, Qureshi said he spelled out the international community’s expectations such as inclusiveness, women’s rights, girls’ education and reduced space for terrorist outfits.
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He said that, like Pakistan, China also had reservations regarding the ETIM, Russia for Daesh and Iran for the attacks on Shiite mosques in Afghanistan, which the Taliban government should understand and for which it has. also suggested to strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation.
To a question, he said Pakistan had received an invitation from India to attend a national security advisers’ debate on Afghanistan, he said in view of bilateral relations following the actions. unilateral Indian IIOJK, the government would make a decision at the appropriate time.
Regarding the increase in TTP attacks, he said the Afghan side was ready to cooperate with Pakistan and looked forward to positive developments in the near future.