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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said there were serious apprehensions in Pakistan that Indian would use Afghanistan to create unrest to destabilise Pakistan as the incumbent Indian government was ideologically against Pakistan.

Addressing as chief guest at the Pakistan-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Forum 2020, the prime minister said that his government's foremost priority was to promote trade, and Afghanistan was a natural partner of Pakistan as future of the region lied in Pak-Afghan relationship, cooperation, and in trade.

He said that "future of this region lies in Pak-Afghan relationship, cooperation and in trade," adding, "top priority of the government in the country is to promote trade, and Afghanistan is [a] natural partner of Pakistan."

Pakistan wants peace in Afghanistan, and has done so much during the last two years that no other country did to reduce violence and bring about ceasefire and peace in Afghanistan, he said, adding that peace in Afghanistan would ensure connectivity up to Central Asia.

The prime minister said, "We have decided in our own country to take the country towards industrialization, and encourage the business community and formulate all the policies in a way that they lead to wealth creation."

"This would be possible through trade and industrialization," he said, adding that the government wanted to promote trade, and Afghanistan was a natural partner of Pakistan. He said that he hoped that one day there would be open borders in the region like in Europe.

The prime minister said that war in Afghanistan had been going on for the last 40 years, and Pakistan was badly affected after Afghanistan, because of this war. He said that the decision about the kind of government who should be elected would be made by the people of Afghanistan, and Pakistan would work with the Afghan government and keep relations with it.

We have decided to back the will of the people of Afghanistan as future of this region lies in Pak-Afghan relationship, cooperation, and in trade. The premier said that never in the past in India, any government came to power as the incumbent Modi-led government that hated the Muslims so much, and wanted their ethnic cleansing.

I was advocate for friendship with India, [but] come to the conclusion that they are ideologically against Pakistan, he said. Earlier, the prime minister welcomed the delegation and congratulated the speaker National Assembly for organising the event.

The prime minister said that Pakistan and Afghanistan's historic connections were decades old as Afghanistan was part of the Mughal empire for about 200 years, and various tribes of Afghanistan routed through Pakistan and other areas for trade (from Central Asian to Calcutta).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020