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Exchange of Parliamentarians between Afghanistan and Pak, will improve bilateral relations: Agha Siraj

Parliamentarians

Karachi, January 11, 2017: The exchange of parliamentarians would be an excellent initiative to improve the bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The speaker of Sindh Assembly, Agha Siraj Durrani said during meeting with the members of Pakistan Afghan Joint Committee (PAJC) at Provincial Assembly, Sindh.

“I would love to visit the Afghan parliament along with the other Pakistani MPs. I would also like to extend all possible cooperation for the betterment of ties between the two countries”, said the speaker while noting that both countries have a rich past history of cultural and people to people contacts.

Later that day, the members of PAJC met with the Provincial Secretary for Culture, Ghulam Akbar Laghari, Provincial Secretary for Sports, Mr. Saleem Raza and Special Secretary to Chief Minister Sindh, Mr. A. Rahim Shaikh.

The secretary sports said that if there were no advancements on the political front, the people to people relations should continue. He was willing to take all possible steps to increase the cooperation on sports and youth affairs and was also open to the idea of Pakistani sports delegation visiting Kabul for sports exchange on reciprocal agreement. He said that the ministry could provide all the facilities available in Karachi for such visits. He further assured to provide boarding and lodging facility to the visiting afghan youth delegations.

“We are open to the idea of organizing cultural events in Afghanistan through an MOU with relevant afghan department. The delegations from Afghanistan can also be hosted for similar events in Pakistan”, the secretary culture noted who was present in the same meeting, while adding that there should also be writers exchange who can travel simultaneously with the cultural troupes to share and disseminate their experiences through travel logs.

The special secretary to chief minister Sindh vowed to take up the matter with the chief minister for further necessary actions including expression of interest based on the recommendations presented to him by the PAJC members. The Afghan members promised to take up the possibility of potential collaboration with Afghan government. They also suggested to cover all these proposals through one broader MOU between Sindh and Afghan government.

Earlier during the day, the PAJC members visited the universities in Karachi including Institute of Business Management (IoBM) and Institute of Business Management (IBA) for interaction with the students and faculty members on “Pak-Afghan Relations: Countering Misperceptions and Negative Narratives”.

These meetings of PAJC are being held in Karachi as part of Beyond Boundaries II, a track I.5/II dialogue series undertaken by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) in partnership with Afghan counterpart Women Peace and Security Organization (WPSO) to soothe bitter context and address the trust deficit between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The members of PAJC had other important meetings on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Committee (PAJC) with Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry The Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) 14-M, Ali Plaza, 2 nd Floor, F8 Markaz, Islamabad, 051-831- 4801-03, [email protected] (PAJCCI), Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). The points that emerged from these meetings are: “The governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan should expedite convening the meetings of Joint Economic Commission (JEC) and Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Coordinating Authority (APTTCA). As agreed between the two governments at the fifth APTTCA meeting, the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) may also be revised soon and both the governments may help in creating an enabling environment for traders from both sides to promote bilateral trade. The Interaction between the chambers of both countries needs to be increased and Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) may hold the ECO Chamber of Commerce & Industries (ECO-CCI) meeting in Kabul this year, as already agreed.”

The last meeting on Tuesday was at the Karachi Arts Council (KAC) with the President, Mr. Ahmed Shah who offered to host 3-4 Afghan artists to perform and receive 2-week training at the KAC academy.=DNA

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