Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will arrive here on a two-day official visit today (Thursday) in a bid to reset the estranged relations with Pakistan that have always been marred by the mutual mistrust and blame game. According to Spokesperson Foreign Office Dr Mohammad Faisal, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani will be visiting Pakistan on June 27-28, 2019 on the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan and will be accompanied by a high-level delegation including ministers, advisors, senior officials and businessmen.
During the visit, he said that President Dr Arif Alvi will have a meeting with President Ghani while Prime Minister Imran Khan will hold delegation-level talks. The wide-ranging talks between the two sides would focus on strengthening bilateral cooperation in diverse areas including political, trade, economic, security, peace and reconciliation, education and people-to-people exchanges, he added.
He said that President Ghani will also travel to Lahore where he will participate in a business forum attended by business representatives from both the countries. This is President Ghani's third visit to Pakistan and follows the recently held first review session of the landmark Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS). Other important bilateral exchanges in recent weeks have included the telephonic call between President Ghani and Prime Minister Imran Khan, bilateral meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of OIC Summit in Makkah, and visits of Afghan national security adviser and minister for refugees to Pakistan.
President Ghani had earlier undertaken a bilateral visit to Pakistan in November 2014 and subsequently came to attend the Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process (HoA) Ministerial Conference in Islamabad in December 2015.
"The people of Pakistan and Afghanistan are bound by fraternal ties reinforced by historical, religious, linguistic and cultural affinities," the spokesperson said, adding that closer engagement between the leaders will help foster a stronger and multifaceted relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Diplomatic sources said that President Ghani during his two-day visit to the country will also exchange views with Pakistani leadership on the ongoing peace efforts for the restoration of peace in Afghanistan and future government setup in Kabul.
They said that President Ghani is expected to urge Pakistan to play its role in persuading the Afghan Taliban to enter into the peace talks with Kabul administration which the group has repeatedly rejected.
Besides, the sources said that it is also expected to take up the constant terrorist attacks on Pakistani territory from across the border with the Afghan president. They said that the two sides are also expected to hold talks on Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) as well as on the measures to further increase the bilateral trade.
They said that the issue of Afghan refugees will also be discussed during the talks, as Pakistan desires an early and dignified return of the Afghan refugees to their homes.