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    Gilani to visit Qatar to discuss Afghan peace

    KABUL (PAN): Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani will visit Qatar next week to explain his country’s stance on the issue of peace talks with the Afghan Taliban, an official said on Saturday.

     “Our prime minister will travel to Qatar next week and will have discussions with the Gulf state’s leaders to explain Pakistan’s stance on the Afghan peace process,” Abdul Basit, the foreign office spokesman told a local news channel in Islamabad.

    The Afghan Taliban last month agreed to open a liaison office in Doha for peace talks with the US and the international community, amid unease in Kabul and Islamabad that the two countries are being left out of the peace process.

    The Pakistan leader would discuss the opening of the Taliban political office in Doha, Basit said.

    “As far as our point of view on Afghanistan future is concerned, we will support every effort that leads to a stable Afghanistan. The International community has considered our point of view by starting holding talks (with Taliban) to end the conflict,” the spokesman said.

    On the sidelines of the second Bonn conference, the US, Germany and Qatar agreed to set up a Taliban office in Qatar, a move supported by the Afghan government and welcomed by the fighters.

    Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, on a fence-mending visit to Kabul on February 1st, promised at a joint news conference with her Afghan counterpart that Islamabad would lend its weight to the reconciliation programme as long as it was spearheaded by Afghans.