Gilani calls for greater co-op between Pak and Afghanistan | world | Hindustan Times
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Gilani calls for greater co-op between Pak and Afghanistan

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has advocated greater cooperation between his country and Afghanistan on security issues, including intelligence-sharing, to help counter-terrorism.

world Updated: Jul 07, 2010 11:09 IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has advocated greater cooperation between his country and Afghanistan on security issues, including intelligence-sharing, to help counter-terrorism.

During a meeting with a visiting Afghan trade delegation-led by Finance Minister Hazrat Qamar Zakhilwal, Gilani emphasized on cooperation that went beyond existing collaboration in security matters, including intelligence-sharing, so that the two countries could develop a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism and militancy.

Gilani noted that Pakistan is "part of the solution of the problems in Afghanistan" and "sincerely desires to work" with the Afghan government.

"The focus of both countries should be to improve the law and order situation to ensure peace and stability," he said.

He also referred to Pakistan's offer to help develop various institutions in Afghanistan, including training the police and army.

Law and order and economy are linked to each other and an improved security environment will automatically create opportunities to exploit the huge potential for trade and commercial activities, he said.

While stressing the need to increase bilateral trade, Gilani said there is a need to regularise trade and check the smuggling of goods.

He also highlighted the importance of improving rail and road connectivity.

This infrastructure could be extended beyond Afghanistan to Central Asia, he added.

Gilani also said the concept of trilateral links between Pakistan, Afghanistan and China could greatly benefit all three countries.

Discussions in this context between the leadership of three countries have been encouraging, he remarked.

Finance Minister Zakhilwal said his meetings with Pakistani officials had been "very fruitful".

The Afghan government has already taken up a project to link Torkham in Pakistan with Jalalabad in Afghanistan by railway, he said.

The next railways link would be between Jalalabad and Mazar-e-Sharif during the next five years, he added.

He also invited Pakistani businessmen to invest in Afghanistan's infrastructure sector and to explore possibilities for joint ventures.