ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Wednesday arrived in Islamabad to attend the ministerial meeting of fifth Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process.
Ghani was received by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with all military services chiefs on the airport. He was also presented guard of honour on the occasion.
During his stay in Pakistan, Ashraf Ghani is expected to hold bilateral dialogue with Pakistani side especially the stalled Afghan peace dialogue with Taliban.
PM Nawaz Sharif and President Ashraf Ghani will also jointly inaugurate the second day of Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process on Wednesday (today).
The Heart of Asia meeting, which began on Tuesday, will discuss the key issues related to regional and national security including an exclusive discussion on Afghanistan.
Representatives of as many as 27 regional countries are expected to attend the conference.
The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was established in 2011 at the initiative of Afghanistan and Turkey.
The main objective of the Process is to foster efforts for regional cooperation andconnectivity with a view to promoting long-term peace and stability as well as progress and development in Afghanistan, and the region.
Addressing the opening session Prime Minister’s special adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz said that Heart of Asia Conference is an effective platform for promoting regional cooperation and connectivity. He said it provides an opportunity to member countries for result-oriented engagements for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
He said there is a need to enhance regional cooperation in counter terrorism, anti-narcotics efforts, disaster management, infrastructure and education through confidence building measures.
Sartaj Aziz said security challenges are hampering our socio-economic development and there is a need to meeting the challenges facing the region by strengthening cooperation.
Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister speaking on the occasion stressed the need for united and collective efforts in the fight against terrorism and extremism. He said Afghanistan is determined to continue fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
He said peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the best interest of the region. The Heart of Asia Conference provides a platform for promoting regional cooperation, he added.