Pak welcomes signing of power-sharing deal between Afghan president Ghani and rival Abdullah

Sajjad Hussain

Islamabad, May 17 (PTI) Pakistan on Sunday welcomed the signing of the power-sharing agreement between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah, saying that it is important for the country's leaders to work constructively to bring lasting peace and stability in the war-torn nation.

As per the deal, Ghani will stay as the president, while Abdullah will helm the High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR) with executive authority and his team will have a 50 per cent share in the cabinet, according to Afghan media reports.

The agreement was signed after a bitter dispute over the results of last year's presidential election that pushed the country into a political crisis. Ghani was sworn in as the Afghan president for a second term on March 9, but Abdullah also declared himself as the president by holding his own oath-taking ceremony the same day.

“At this critical juncture, it is vitally important that all Afghan leaders work together constructively in the supreme interest of the Afghan people and help bring lasting peace and stability to the country affected by decades of violence and conflict,” Pakistan's Foreign Office (FO) said.

The power-sharing agreement between Ghani and Abdullah came over two-and-half months after the US inked a peace deal with the Taliban, providing for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and effectively drawing curtains to Washington's 18-year war in the country.

FO said the US-Taliban Peace Agreement has created a historic opportunity, which must be seized by all Afghan stakeholders to advance the goals of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

“It is critical that the Intra-Afghan negotiations commence at the earliest, culminating in a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan,” the FO said.

It said that all Afghan parties must honour their respective commitments, work with perseverance and sense of common purpose, and also guard against the machinations of any spoilers, from within and without.

“While reaffirming our abiding solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan reiterates its commitment to continue to support a peaceful, stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, at peace with itself and its neighbours,” the FO said.

It also said that the agreement between Afghan leaders was imperative for being able to effectively respond to the formidable challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. PTI SH RS RS