Thaw in relations: Pakistan, Afghanistan revive bilateral dialogue after 7 months

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Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood led the Pakistani side while the Afghan delegation was headed by Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Idrees Zaman during the bilateral talks on Monday, June 10. (Courtesy FO)
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Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcomes Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Idrees Zaman on Monday as the two sides resume bilateral dialogue on peace action plan after seven months. (Courtesy FO)
Updated 10 June 2019

Thaw in relations: Pakistan, Afghanistan revive bilateral dialogue after 7 months

  • Kabul had stopped the bilateral peace action plan talks in November last year
  • The two sides agreed on joint efforts for trust building and mutual cooperation for regional peace, FO says

ISLAMABAD: Senior Pakistani and Afghan diplomats met in Islamabad on Monday to explore ways for cooperation that marks the revival of bilateral dialogue after a gap of nearly seven months, officials said.
Afghanistan had stopped meetings in November with Pakistan under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAAPS), an all inclusive mechanism between the two countries, which has five sub-groups, under which the two countries are in contact regarding various issues.
The APAPPS review meetings should be held quarterly but Kabul was seemingly upset at what they claimed Pakistan’s failure to hold a
conference of Pakistani and Afghan religious scholars to condemn violence in Afghanistan.
However, Pakistan accuses Kabul of non-cooperation in hold the conference alleging the Afghan leaders of not respond to Pakistan’s proposals for the conference.
Kabul wants Pakistani scholars to issue a decree similar to Islamabad’s “Paigham-e-Pakistan” that had declared suicide attacks in Pakistan anti-Islamic.
The Foreign Office said that Pakistani and Afghan officials agreed on “joint efforts for trust building and mutual cooperation for regional
peace.”
Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood led the Pakistani side while the Afghan delegation was headed by Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Idrees Zaman.
“The two sides exchanged views on cooperation in politics, diplomacy, defense, intelligence and Afghan refugees and agreed to strengthen it further and reviewed the progress made in the matters decided between the two countries,” a Foreign Office statement said.
The Afghan delegation also met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who assured Pakistan’s support for peace in Afghanistan and the region, according to the Foreign Office.
“Both sides also agreed to promote high level contacts of the leadership of both countries,” the statement said.
The APAPPS was established in May 2018 to provide a comprehensive and structured framework for institutional bilateral engagement between Pakistan and Afghanistan in diverse areas of cooperation.
The mechanism works through five Working Groups namely: Politico-Diplomatic; Military-to-Military Coordination; Intelligence
Cooperation; Economic and Refugees.
Pakistan’s former ambassador Asif Khan Durrani said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken the initiative to issue a policy statement on Afghanistan nearly a week before President Ghani’s phone call in which he had emphasized the importance of intra-Afghan dialogue and also condemned the Taliban’s spring offensive.
“Imran Khan’s statement was a message to the Taliban to sit on negotiations with the Afghan government,” Durrani told Arab News.
“Pakistan and Ghani believe that peace could return to Afghanistan through an inclusive process and no one could be excluded,” he said.
Senior journalist Ihsanullah Tipu Mehsud said President Ghani has adopted a new approach and policy of rapprochement with Pakistan
which is also a key to the success of the peace process.
“I think Pakistan, Afghan government and the Americans should realize that lack of unity and a unified approach could sabotage the on-going talks between the US and the Taliban,” said Mehsud.


Shaheen Afridi upstages Taylor's ton as Pakistan beats Zimbabwe in first ODI

Updated 30 October 2020

Shaheen Afridi upstages Taylor's ton as Pakistan beats Zimbabwe in first ODI

  • Zimbabwe lost by 26 runs when it was bowled out for 255 in 49.4 overs
  • Afridi outperformed everyone with 5-49

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan overcame Brendan Taylor’s century thanks to fast bowler Shaheen Afridi’s 5-49 to beat Zimbabwe by 26 runs in the first one-day international on Friday.
Taylor’s 112 off 117 balls — his 11th ODI hundred — ended up in a losing cause as Zimbabwe was bowled out for 255 in 49.4 overs.
Afridi was well supported by Wahab Riaz, who claimed 4-41.
In Pakistan’s first home international with no spectators because of COVID-19 restrictions at Pindi Cricket Stadium, left-handed batsmen Haris Sohail (71) and Imam-ul-Haq (58) propped up their team’s total of 281-8.
The three-match ODI series is part of the new World Cup Super League. Seven of the 13 teams in the league will directly qualify for the 2023 Cricket World Cup in India.
Taylor kept Zimbabwe in the hunt by hitting 11 fours and three sixes until Afridi returned in the 47th over and had him caught at mid-off. Zimbabwe lost its last five wickets for only 15 runs in the space of 18 balls.
“Pakistan’s bowlers' skill level at the death made it difficult for us," Taylor said.
On being named player of the match, he added, “I feel very lucky to get this man of the match award as I feel Shaheen should have got it. You’re up against a very skillful attack at the death and they were too good at the end."
Taylor and Wesley Madhevere (55) shared a 119-run, fifth-wicket stand that put Zimbabwe’s chase back on track after Afridi and Riaz reduced Zimbabwe to 115-4 in the 27th over.
But once Riaz broke the partnership by clean bowling Madhevere, Afridi followed up with the key dismissal of Taylor and swung the game back in Pakistan's favor.
“He (Taylor) played an outstanding innings, but I had confidence in Shaheen Afridi and Wahab Riaz,” Babar Azam said after winning his first ODI as Pakistan captain. “Once Shaheen had Taylor’s wicket, I was sure we are going to win the game.”
Earlier, Zimbabwe's players didn’t show any rustiness despite this being their first international match since March as they tied down Pakistan’s much-fancied stroke-players.
Left-arm spinner Tendai Chisoro (2-31) and fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani (2-39), who is making a comeback after two years out, were the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers. Muzarabani got Babar caught behind on 19.
Imam survived a television referral for lbw on 11 and went on to hit six fours. However, soon after completing his half-century he fell to a bizarre run out when he and Sohail ended up at the striker’s end.
Sohail departed in the 42nd over after hitting six fours and two sixes when offspinner Sikander Raza had him caught behind. Sohail didn’t return to the field during Zimbabwe’s chase.
Pakistan made 90 runs in the last 10 overs to post a competitive total.