Senate of Pakistan

Karzai has hailed APC outcome: Mushahid

Karzai has hailed APC outcome: Mushahid
September 16, 2013

Afghan President Hamid Karzai welcomed the results of the All Parties Conference (APC) which decided to have dialogue with the militants, Chairman Senate Committee on Defence and Defence Production Mushahid Hussain Syed revealed during a press conference on Friday. Mushahid Hussain Syed was briefing the media about 4-day visit of the Senate Defence Committee to Kabul where they met President Karzai and other high government officials.

He said that the committee, during its visit, had excellent meeting with President Karzai, who spoke in Urdu and put aside all the protocol to personally see off the delegation, coming all the way down the stairs in the presidential palace in Kabul. Karzai also welcomed the results of the APC and the decision to have dialogue with the militants. During the meeting with Afghan Defence Minister, General Bismillah Khan and Chief of Army Staff, General Karimi praised General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani for his 'sincere and serious approach' on military related and other border issues.

The Senator said that he was informed in Kabul that within next two months a bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington will be signed, as a result of which approximately 20,000 American and Nato troops will remain on nine bases in different parts of Afghanistan. He also mentioned that according to informed sources in Kabul, there were over 100,000 American contractors who were engaged in various security and other related responsibilities for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. This number would not be affected by the draw-down of Nato troops.

As a result of the visit, Senator Mushahid Hussain said, the two sides signed a MOU to institutionalise the dialogue, the next round of which will be convened in Islamabad after the Afghanistan presidential elections in April, 2014. The two sides also issued a joint declaration, which was mutually agreed upon and presented a common vision of problems faced by both countries, whereas both the sides agreed that peace, security and stability between the two neighbours is inextricable intertwined.

Mushahid also referred to growing confidence and better rapport between the government and military establishments of the two countries, which is exemplified by 20 visits of President Karzai to Pakistan in the past decade and 12 separate visits by General Bismillah Khan to Islamabad.

Referring to people to people contacts between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Senator Mushahid Hussain said that the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul was issuing 1200 visas a day without charging any visa fee while at least 55,000 people cross over on both sides of the border on daily basis via 124 various crossing points between the two countries.

Referring to an initiative for greater people to people contact, Senator Mushahid announced that a Pakistan-Afghanistan Peoples Friendship Association was being launched with Senator Afrasiab Khattak as its President and Senator Dr Jehangir Badar as the Secretary General, which would hold a big Pakistan-Afghanistan Peoples Friendship Festival in Kabul during October 26-28, 2013.

Senator Mushahid Hussain also referred to the upcoming challenge of 2014 which will be the biggest logistical exercise after World War-II in military terms since 750,000 pieces of armaments, ammunition, equipment and vehicles, worth a total of 35 billion dollars, would have to be taken out of Afghanistan, 70 percent through Pakistan, while the rest would go through the Northern Distribution Network via Central Asia.

Senator termed the visit of the Committee to Kabul as a "first of its kind, historic, path-breaking" between the two countries since it has institutionalized the first-ever dialogue on defence, security and military related issues between the two neighbours.

The delegation was led by Senator Mushahid Hussain, comprising Senators Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Aitizaz Ahsan, Jehangir Badar, Sehar Kamran, Haji Adeel, Najma Hameed, Saeed Mandokhel, Afrasiab Khattak and MNA Maulana Mohammad Khan Shirani.


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