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Pakistan assures full assistance to Afghan peace process

30 October, 2013

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LONDON: Pakistan on Tuesday emphasised the need for the inclusion of the Taliban in the Afghan peace process and assured its full assistance with serious efforts to close the chapter of violence in the war-plagued Afghanistan.

According to the prime minister, Pakistan wanted peace in the entire region and dialogue was integral for peace in Afghanistan. He offered Afghanistan all-out support in efforts for peace and technical assistance in elections. The prime minister is in London to attend the World Islamic Economic Forum.

Prime Minister Nawaz, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and British Prime Minister David Cameron reaffirmed their continuing commitment for the Afghan peace process. During their trilateral meeting at the Downing Street the three leaders discussed economic co-operation and the Afghan-led peace process to which they all reaffirmed their continuing commitment. They continued their dialogue about Afghanistan and Pakistan's shared interest in advancing regional peace, stability and prosperity. This was the first meeting of the three countries since Prime Minister Nawaz assumed his office.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was assisted in talks by Pakistan's High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Sartaj Aziz, Ishaq Dar, ambassadors Sadiq Khan and Jalil Abbas Jilani and a few others from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The discussion continued for about 90 minutes between the two. Nawaz Sharif and Hamid Karzai, who arrived for talks with a difference of 15 minutes, were received by David Cameron. Prime Minister Cameron was joined by Foreign Secretary, who is alsoBritain's National Security adviser, William Hague.

Speaking to our sources on condition of anonymity, a source in Pakistani delegation told that Pakistan had told during discussions that it will provide technical assistance during the upcoming elections in Afghanistan. "Pakistan assured that it will try its best to facilitate where it can the Afghan government's talks with the Taliban and will endeavour to help Afghanistan stabilise with the inclusion of all stakeholders."

The Pakistani delegation also talked about the release of senior Taliban commander Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar. "Pakistan stressed that Taliban must be rehabilitated into the dialogue process," said the source.

A statement issued by the British prime minister's office at Downing Street after the trilateral meeting quoted a spokesperson as saying that Prime Minister Cameron praised as an excellent opportunity for the UK to broaden and deepen relationship with trading partners across the Islamic world.

Cameron had said on Monday that London aims to become a top capital of Islamic finance as the city played host to the first World Islamic Forum outside the Muslim world. "Already London is the biggest centre for Islamic finance outside the Islamic world. And today our ambition is to go further still," Cameron told more than 1,800 political and business leaders at the ninth forum, dubbed the "Davos of the Muslim world".

"I don't just want London to be a great capital of Islamic finance in the Western world, I want London to stand alongside Dubai and Kuala Lumpur as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world," he said.

"Investing in London is good for you and opening London up to your investment is good for us." More than 20 UK banks currently offer Islamic financial products, while 49 Islamic bonds – called sukuks – with a total value of $34 billion, have been listed over the last five years on the London Stock Exchange. But Cameron aims to expand well beyond this.

"When Islamic finance is growing 50 percent faster than traditional banking and when global Islamic investments are set to grow to £1.3 trillion by 2014, we want to make sure a big proportion of that new investment is made here in Britain."

As part of realising his ambitions, Cameron announced a new "Islamic Index" on the London Stock Exchange and revealed plans for Britain to release an Islamic bond. "This means the creation of a new way of identifying Islamic finance opportunities – a world-leading Islamic Market Index," he explained. The index will identify companies that meet traditional Islamic investment principles.


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