ISLAMABAD: Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Omar Zakhilwal said that we should be ‘cautiously optimistic’ after the meeting between Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul.
“COAS and Afghan president hope to work together for the betterment of their respective countries,” he remarked while speaking on Geo News programme Jirga on Sunday.
General Bajwa is serious and sincere about improving relations with Afghanistan, he said, adding “Ghani is also serious about opening doors of friendship with Pakistan.”
We can also move forwards if we respect each other’s sovereignty and not let third parties define our relations, especially India, he added.
After COAS meeting with the Afghan president, Zakhilwal had tweeted: “Candid, positive, respectful, constructive & encouraging meeting in a long time. I'm proud to have played a facilitating role in all this.”
When asked about it, he explained that his description of the meeting was exactly as he saw it. “The issues were discussed in a respectful manner and there was a lot of positivity from both sides.”
The meeting served as an “expression of interest” to put Afghanistan and Pakistan that is “cordial” by removing differences between the two neighbouring countries.
He also explained that the meeting was not ‘achanak’ [suddenly] and that many meetings were held prior to this.
He explained that he has held many meetings with representatives from Pakistan since March 2017. There was a lot of back and forth to make this possible, he shared.
The people on both sides of the border “want countries to be closest possible” and “this is how the leadership should be reflecting”, he added.
Over the issue of mistrust between two countries, he said “mistrust is there from both sides, unfortunately. However, we can’t allow it to cripple us from doing anything.”Representatives from both the countries should find a path of respect, a path in which they support peace and stability, a path of peace and prosperity.
No matter how many times we fail, we must always try again, he said. "We should learn from mistakes."
There is war in Afghanistan, continuous terrorists’ attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, whenever an attack occurred in either country the “negative rhetoric would skyrocket.”
However, the negative rhetoric is reducing with time. If it weren’t, then this meeting wouldn’t have been possible, he pointed out.