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Afghanistan to join CPEC soon: minister


9/23/2018
LANDIKOTAL: Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri said on Saturday that Pakistan wanted friendly relations with all neighbours particularly Afghanistan.
He said he recently met the Afghan ambassador in Islamabad and offered him to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He said it would benefit the war-torn country.
 
In an interview with The News, Noorul Haq Qadri said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision was to cement relations with all the neighbours.
 
He said Afghanistan and Pakistan shared common religion, culture and traditions.
 
Noorul Haq Qadri said he met the Afghan ambassador in Islamabad last week and discussed bilateral issues with him. He said all facilities would be provided to Afghan citizens travelling to Pakistan.
 
He said Afghanistan would soon officially announce joining CPEC.
 
“Afghanistan has put some conditions before joining CPEC that would soon be resolved at the government level,” he added.
 
He said Pakistan offered Afghanistan to build rail and roads inside Afghanistan. He said that Pakistan would be connected to Europe through rail track in Afghanistan.
 
The minister said Torkham border was regaining its importance as a business hub and would be a modern dry port for Afghanistan and other countries.
 
He said PTI-led government was aware of the miseries of businessmen, shopkeepers and custom clearance agents at Torkham border town.
 
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Kabul to restore cordial relations with Afghanistan, he added.
 
Noorul Haq Qadri said the government was working to restore business ties with Afghanistan besides extending free trade with Russia and Europe. “I am optimistic that Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia would soon join CPEC that is in the best interest of Pakistan,” Qadri said.
 
He said work was underway to reconstruct the damaged infrastructure in Khyber tribal district.
 
The minister said in the first three-month phase the government was working to merge Fata Education and Health departments with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said the merger process would take five years to complete.
 
To a question, Noorul Haq Qadri said he was planning to start water supply projects for the people of his constituency.
 
He added that he would first complete the already approved water supply projects in Landikotal.
 
Source: The News