ISLAMABAD - President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday stressed for frequent exchange of parliamentary delegations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and urged for forging stronger links among women parliamentarians in the two countries. Talking to a delegation of Afghan women parliamentarians at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, Islamabad, President Zardari called for enhancing Pak-Afghan bilateral relations. Briefing newsmen, Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar said the President called upon the women parliamentarians to make joint efforts and participate actively at advancing the cause of gender equality and emancipation of women.
The President stressed for ending all forms of discrimination against women both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He expressed the hope that the visit by the Afghan parliamentarians would further strengthen cordial relations between the two countries.
The Spokesperson said the President recalled his meeting with the first Convention of Women Parliamentarians from Afghanistan and South Asia last year and said the convention that also included Afghan women parliamentarians was as a giant leap towards a meaningful participation of women leaders for peace, security and reconciliation in the region.
The President while referring to the current wave of militancy and extremism in the region said the world would be a better place if more women were in positions of power.
The President said Pakistan wanted to further enhance trade and investment ties with Afghanistan and urged for increasing the current bilateral trade which is around US $ 2 billion to new heights.
He expressed the hope that the new Afghanistan- Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) would boost trade and economic opportunities to the mutual benefit and its smooth implementation would have dividends for peoples of both the countries.
Discussing Afghanistan situation, the President said Pakistan stood for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan, which he said, was in its own interest as any development in Afghanistan had its impact on Pakistan.
He reiterated that Pakistan would support every effort to bring in peace and stability in Afghanistan adding that Pakistan desired an Afghan-led solution to the current situation in Afghanistan.
The members of the delegation thanked the President for the meeting and appreciated various efforts being taken by the government for socio- political and economic empowerment of women of the country.
The delegation included among others Ms Asila Wardak Jamal, Director Human Rights and Women’s International Affairs, Shinkai Karokhail, Razai Sadat Mangal, Golalei Nur Safi and Elay Ershad.
Salman Faruqui, Secretary General, Dr. Nafisa Shah, MNA, Dr Donya Aziz, MNA, Ms Farhanaz Ispahani, MNA and Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar were also present. (Monitoring Desk)