Islamabad: Calling Islamabad “a conjoined twin”, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said that the Indian presence in his country is not aimed at “brother” Pakistan.
“Indian presence in Afghanistan is in no way and cannot be in any manner used against Pakistan,” Karzai told Pakistan Television Saturday. “Pakistan is a conjoined twin and brother (of Afghanistan).”
He, however, said that India was an old friend of Afghanistan was helping it tremendously and providing financial assistance. “Pakistan should feel happy that Afghanistan is being helped by another neighbor,” he added.
Pakistan has repeatedly complained that the Indian role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction is actually aimed at propping up a pro-New Delhi regime in Kabul. Karzai also said the US had been told that “there is no way Afghanistan cannot have relationship with” Iran as the two countries share a 900-km border.
Karzai lauded the role of the Pakistani leadership and people for their cooperation with Afghanistan. During his visit, the two countries signed an “Islamabad declaration” agreeing to step up cooperation in trade and commerce, energy, infrastructure development and people-to-people contacts, the media reported Sunday.
The 23-point declaration was signed Saturday by Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s minister of state for foreign affairs, and her Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rassoul, Dawn reported.
Pakistan and Afghanistan expressed satisfaction over the establishment of a two-tier joint commission mechanism to facilitate and promote reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan.
According to the Pakistan foreign office, the two countries agreed to improve connectivity and infrastructure development, initiate cooperation in energy, mines and mineral sectors and significantly increase cultural, parliamentary, students, youths and people-to-people contacts.
They also agreed to initiate consultations with other states to set up trade transit and facilitation mechanisms, an arrangement to enable their Central Asian neighbors to use overland routes through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the world.
Both sides agreed to promote cooperation in financial and banking sectors. They also agreed to undertake steps for establishing special economic and industrial zones.
They agreed to set up a rail link between Peshawar in Pakistan and Jalalabad in Afghanistan.