Work for regional connectivity, not hostility: President Ghani tells businessmen in Punjab

By: The Kabul Times

KABUL: President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani called on Punjab Governor Chaudhary Muhammad Sarwar at Governor House in Lahore on Friday, a statement said.
Earlier, upon his arrival in the provincial metropolis, President Ghani was received by Governor Sarwar and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar at the Allama Iqbal International Airport, the presidential press office said late on Friday night.
Matters of mutual interest and cooperation for promotion of peace were discussed during the meeting. Later in the day, President Ghani offered Juma Prayer at Governor’s House Masjid in Lahore.
The president while addressing the Afghan-Pak Business Forum at Governor’s House, said Afghanistan was a landlocked country; however, it could play an effective role for an improved connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia. He said in this regard, Afghanistan was developing its infrastructure to come up with a new direction of connectivity through energy transmission, fiber optic and transport in an effort to cater to the modern-age needs.
The president said Pakistan especially its private sector should come forward and take part in the infrastructural development in Afghanistan. Giving a detailed overview of the economic perspectives and investment opportunities in Afghanistan, President Ghani said Afghanistan had the potential of 50,000MW electricity transmission from Central Asia to South Asia.
The President added Afghanistan was interested in improving its power transmission infrastructure, energy generation, natural gas exploration and supply mechanism, transport sector development, and enhanced export market relations with Pakistan.
Afghanistan had 92 per cent fiber optic connectivity that was being extended to China, Central Asia and Iran. Similarly, they were also laying vast network of railway lines and filling in the missing links which would help channel the rail link between Uzbekistan and Pakistan, he added.
While legal framework for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) was also in place in Afghanistan, the President said and asserted that Pakistan’s private sector could benefit from infrastructural development projects.
President Ghani said ‘’aid’’ was not a solution to prosperity of a country but improving resources; enhancing productions, trade and exports could ensure real development of a country. He said he had discussed at length security matters with Pakistan, adding that peace was being restored in Afghanistan and they were committed to achieving the goal at all costs.
The president went on saying that mistrust and lack of commitments to the MoUs reached between the two countries have led to a number of challenges before trade and transit sector. The president said it was the time to exclude all blames and further work for trade and regional connectivity.
Concluding his remarks, the President invited Punjab businessmen to pay a visit to Kabul and explore investment opportunities.
President Ghani also paid homage to the mausoleum of Allama Iqbal as well as visited the historic Badshahi Mosque.

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