Kabul announces public holiday on PM Imran’s first visit to Afghanistan

The Afghan capital has also been adorned with Pakistani flags

11:01 PM | 18 Nov, 2020
Kabul announces public holiday on PM Imran’s first visit to Afghanistan
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KABUL – Afghanistan’s Ministry of Labor and Public Affairs has announced an overall holiday in the capital Kabul to ease congestion, as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to arrive in the country’s capital tomorrow.

PM Khan will arrive in Afghan capital Thursday in his first-ever visit to Pakistan's west-side neighbour since assuming office in 2018, to strengthen bilateral ties and meet with President Ghani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kabul Mansoor Ahmad Khan tweeted.

Imran Khan, who will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Adviser for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, and other senior officials, is visiting Afghanistan on President Ashraf Ghani's invitation.

Thursday holiday is in regards to alleviate overcrowding and poor environmental conditions in the city, the Khaama Press reported. The Afghan government is also preparing for Imran’s arrival and has hoisted Pakistani flags in many parts of Kabul.

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In its statement, the Foreign Office said the premier's "programme includes tete-e-tete with President Ashraf Ghani, delegation-level talks, and joint press stake-out".

"The focus would be on further deepening the fraternal bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Afghan peace process, and regional economic development and connectivity," the statement added.

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The visit also comes as "part of regular high-level exchanges between Pakistan and Afghanistan", with Ghani last meeting PM Imran during a visit to Islamabad in June 2019, both holding a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 14th OIC Summit in Makkah in May 2019, and a telephonic conversation between the two in September 2020.

Top government officials from the two countries have been in touch frequently over the past, including FM Qureshi's regular exchanges with his Afghan counterpart, as well as the visits of Chairperson High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Speaker Afghan Wolesi Jirga Rahman Rahmani, and Commerce Minister Nisar Ahmad Ghoraini.

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