Welcome home, Ghani tells visiting Pakistani nationalists
KABUL (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday met senior Pakhtun leaders from Pakistan who arrived on a goodwill-trip and to attend a reference in the memory of late veteran Pashtun nationalist leader Afzal Khan Lala in capital Kabul.
In his address to the visiting guests, President Ghani said “all the Afghans feel pride and are happy that you have come to our home with peace messages.”
The Afghan leader said the demise of Afzal Khan Lala was painful for them and his thoughts, conversations and goals were unaffected when he spoke to Afzal Khan the last time on the telephone.
The nationalist leaders include Awami National Party president Asfandyar Wali Khan, ANP central leader Afrasiab Khattak, Dr. Salim Khan (son of Afzal Khan Lala), Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai and Qaumi Watan Party leader Aftab Sherpao.
The delegation also includes ex-governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Shaukatullah Khan and former ambassador Ayaz Wazir. They are expected to hold talks former president Hamid Karzai and Afghan parliamentarians.
Remembering Ghan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, nicknamed as Bāchā Khān or Pāchā Khān, a Pashtun independence activist against the rule of the British Raj, Khan Shaheed Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai, a Pashtun nationalist and political leader from Pakistan’s Quetta, and other nationalists, President Ghani said it was their responsibility and duty to accomplish the leaders’ desires and wishes.
“It is your home, you are always welcome because mutual visits strengthen relations and result in peace and stability.”
QWP chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao on the occasion thanked the Afghan president for meeting them with high level delegations. Sherpao said they shared grief and pain, adding they had brought with them the message of peace and solidarity from the people of Pakistan.
Besides Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Asfandiyar Wali Khan, Sherpao, Khattak, Sikandar Sherpao, Engineer Shakirullah, Salim Khan and Osman Kakar, a number of Afghanistan Cabinet members, parliamentarians and political leaders were present at the meeting at the Presidential Palace.
The delegates have arrived on a three-day visit aimed at promoting peace in the region and goodwill between the neighbours, Afrasiab Khattak told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Khattak said the visit was taking place in response to an invitation from the Afghan president. During his trip to Islamabad a year ago, Ghani had invited them to Kabul for consultations.
“Our objective is to create a positive environment for constructive interaction and strong relations between the two countries,” Khattak said, adding their second trip was part of the consultative process. The first such visit happened in January.
He noted lasting peace, a pre-requisite for regional economic prosperity, was a key objective of both nations, struggling with the menace of terrorism. He believed the neighbours should overcome tensions and mistrust to realise their shared goal of stability.
On Saturday, Nov. 28, the delegates will attend a reference in the honour of renowned Pakhtun nationalist leader Afzal Khan Lala, who passed away on Nov. 1. His death has been described as an irreparable loss for Pashtuns on both sides of the Durand Line.
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