Pakistan to expand ties with Afghanistan
"On a priority basis, we need to further enhance our brotherly bilateral relations with Afghanistan at government-to-government, institution-to-institution and people-to-people levels," they said.
The vow came at an All Parties Conference (APC) at the Prime Minister's House in Islamabad late on Thursday night, amid accusations from top US officials that Pakistan's spy agency is backing the Haqqani network, blamed for recent attacks in Kabul.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, ISI Director-General Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha, PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif and representatives of more than 55 political parties attended the conference that lasted several hours.
Gen. Pasha briefed participants on the presence of various militant factions operating in the Pak-Afghan border region, who were hostile to Pakistan. Pasha and Kayani rejected the US allegations as groundless.
A 13-point resolution adopted by the participants said Pakistan must initiate dialogue with a view to negotiating "peace with our own people in the tribal areas".
Mahmood Khan Achakzai, the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief, reportedly questioned ISI's role in dealing with the Afghan crisis. If the intelligence agency really wanted to bring peace to the neighbouring country, it could do so within a month, he was quoted as saying by Geo News.
With the Haqqani network was open to talks, he asked the US to adopt a political approach to peace in Afghanistan instead of relying heavily on military operations. He spurned the impression that the ISI was supporting the Haqqanis.
The resolution said Pakistan, as a peace-loving country, desired to establish and maintain friendly and cordial relations with all countries of the world on the basis of sovereign equality, mutual interest and respect.
Prime Minister Gilani declared that Pakistan was in no position to accept the "do more dictation" from Americans. "Our national interest must be respected and honoured. And Pakistan cannot be pressured to do more."
Sharif asked military leadership why the country was increasingly becoming isolated internationally. There must be some solid reason for the mounting US pressure on Pakistan, he said, adding the entire world was pointing fingers at its role in Afghanistan.
"Pakistan shall continue to endeavor to promote stability and peace at the regional and global planes, in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter and international law," the resolution said.
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