ISLAMABAD, May 31, 2018: NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, Sir Nicholas Kay, called on PPP Parliamentary Leader in Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman today. Rehman and Kay discussed key points of mutual concern wherein the importance of the peace process and stabilisation goals in Afghanistan were highlighted. Rehman stressed on Pakistan’s positive role in facilitating dialogue as much as possible, saying that all the support Pakistan could possibly provide has been extended across the board, whether it be refugees or reconciliation. It was also agreed that a reduction in violence in Afghanistan was critical for moving forward towards a sustainable peace. The process of building an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue as well as improving regional trade relations were also discussed.
Rehman agreed with Ambassador Kay on the expansion of trade ties and said that , “As the volume of trade and transit continues to shrink, South Asian states should focus on geoeconomics and restart trade talks. This is particularly true for Pakistan and Afghanistan. The trade volume between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which used to be around $2.7 billion a few years ago, has now fallen to $500 million. It must be revived just as much as people to people ties across the board.”
Rehman concluded, “If peace talks don’t gain the necessary momentum and violence in Afghanistan intensifies, it is not only the Afghans who suffer. History has told us that Pakistan comes in a close second. Given such vital stakes in Afghan stability and autonomy, Pakistan will continue to support every effort for a peaceful, stable and progressive Afghanistan”.