Islamabad, Feb 25 (ANI): Pakistan has publicly appealed to the Taliban and other Afghan groups to join an 'intra-Afghan process' for advancing the cause of reconciliation and peace in the country.
The appeal, the first of its kind, was made by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in a policy statement issued after a meeting with ISI chief Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha on the Afghan issue.
"I would like to appeal to the Taliban leadership as well as to all other Afghan groups, including Hizb-i-Islami, to participate in an intra-Afghan process for national reconciliation and peace," The Dawn quoted Gilani, as saying in the appeal made in response to Afghan President Hamid Karzai's request to Islamabad to support the peace initiative.
"It is our sincere hope that the Taliban leadership, Hizb-i-Islami and all other Afghan political leaders will respond positively to my appeal and agree to enter into direct negotiations in the framework of an intra-Afghan process for reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan," he added.
Earlier this week, Karzai had phoned Gilani and renewed his call for Pakistan's assistance to the reconciliation process, which he said was critical.
Karzai's last week visit to Islamabad for trilateral summit had created doubts about the reconciliation process, after he blamed Pakistan for spreading radicalism and not delivering the Taliban leadership for peace talks.
After Karzais meetings with Pakistani leaders in Islamabad, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said: "The talks were hard. But sometimes you need to have hard talks." (ANI)
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