Pakistan, Afghanistan urged to resume dialogue

Indo Asian News Service

Islamabad, March 7 (IANS) Pakistan and Afghanistan should resume their dialogue for resolution of disputes, speakers at an event here have said.

The border crossing-points between the two countries should never have been closed as it only affects the poor people and movement of terrorists cannot be stopped by such actions, Dawn online quoted the speakers as saying at the Islamabad Club on Monday.

They were speaking at the 'Afghanistan-Pakistan Bilateral (Track II/I.5) Dialogue' held under the theme: "In Pursuit of an Elusive Peace -- A diversity of challenges, a bouquet of opportunities".

"We push India for dialogue but don't want the same with Afghanistan," said Ayaz Wazir, Pakistan's former ambassador to Afghanistan.

Wazir said incidents such as the killing of five Pakistani soldiers on Monday were unfortunate.

He stressed the need for resuming dialogue between the two countries for resolution of their issues.

Awami National Party leader Bushra Gohar said the closure of the Torkham and Chaman border crossing-points after the February attack at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan town of Sindh was wrong.

Gohar said the closure of the border could not stop movement of terrorists.

"We have self-destructive policies which should be changed," the ANP leader said, adding that Islamabad and Kabul should jointly find solution to their problems.

According to Gohar, Pakistani soil should not be used against any country and Islamabad should only develop relations with the government and people of Afghanistan, and not with Taliban or any other group.

Afrasiab Khattak, former senator and member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said Pakistan and Afghanistan should jointly hold talks with militants and take action against those who do not agree for dialogue.

Before being driven out of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), militants had a strong presence in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

A researcher of the Afghanistan Institute of Strategic Studies, Bahar Mehr, told Dawn that the closure of the border was not only increasing sufferings of Afghan people, but also mistrust between the two nations.

"The closure of the border was a violation of agreements between the two states," he said, adding that such actions could not stop terrorism.

--IANS

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