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Pak-Afghan relations on strong wicket: Aziz

The Pakistan prime minister said that a stable and prosperous Afghanistan is in the best interests of its neighbouring countries.

india Updated: Sep 14, 2006 13:26 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

No one will be allowed to come in the way of relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Thursday at a function in this Afghan city to inaugurate a vital trade highway linking the two neighbours.

The Torkhum-Jalalabad highway has been constructed by Pakistan at a cost of Rs.2 billion, reported Online news agency.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other prominent personalities were present on the occasion.

The Pakistan prime minister said that a stable and prosperous Afghanistan is in the best interests of its neighbouring countries as well as for the people of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are bound in the bonds of Islam and both have close relations, added Aziz.

Pakistan has donated Rs 250 million for development and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan though Pakistan was not among the donor countries, he said.

With this money, a kidney centre in Nangarhar - a border province with Pakistan -, expansion of a university, construction of a Jinnah Hospital and various medical centres would be completed, noted Aziz.

"We are jointly working in the field of education in Afghanistan because no nation can progress without getting education," he maintained.

The Torkhum-Jalalabad highway was a gift from the people of Pakistan for their Afghan brethren, he said, adding that it would help boost bilateral trade.

The Torkhum-Jalalabad highway would be made into a two-lane road and railway tracks would be laid from Spin Boldak in Kandahar to Chaman in Pakistan's Balochistan.

The highway, built by the National Highway Authority (NHA) and Frontier Work Organization (FWO), had been damaged in the US-Afghanistan war.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai appreciated the friendship of Pakistan and said the Afghan people would always remember the assistance provided by Pakistan to Afghan refugees.

Both countries are victims of terrorism and both need to fight jointly against terrorism, Karzai noted.

Earlier, Aziz arrived at Nangarhar Airport of Jalalabad and was received by Karzai along with his cabinet ministers.

The Pakistani prime minister also discussed key regional and international issues with the Afghan president after his arrival.

Two rockets landed in Jalalabad hours before arrival of the Pakistani leader.

With construction of the highway, the travelling time from Torkhum to Jalalabad has been reduced to 45 minutes from the earlier 1.45 hours.

First Published: Sep 14, 2006 13:23 IST