Excellency Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Foreign Minister of Afghanistan,
Honourable Ministers, Elders and Parliamentarians,
Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a matter of great honour and pleasure for me to welcome you to the Pakistan Day Reception.
Pakistan and Afghanistan share deep-rooted bonds of history, culture, geography and faith. Our customs, languages, literature and heroes are all common. Also, we have a common vision of peace, prosperity and development of our peoples and the region.
The National Day of Pakistan is celebrated on 23rd March every year to commemorate the Pakistan Resolution adopted in 1940 in Lahore, which envisaged a free Muslim state in South Asia.
Afghanistan has an important role in the historic evolution that led to the creation of a Muslim state in South Asia. Islam came to us through Central Asia and Afghanistan. The culture, languages, attire and outlook of Muslims of South Asia are borrowed from Afghanistan. The importance of Afghanistan for Pakistan is seen in this light by our philosophers, intellectuals and poets.
As our histories, destinies of Pakistan and Afghanistan are also intertwined. Even the threats we face are common. These common threats are: international terrorism; economic underdevelopment; and onslaught of alien cultures.
Terrorism is a threat to our life and property. It also dampens economic growth.
Economic under-development creates unrest in the society. It causes illiteracy and feeds terrorism.
Alien cultural onslaught threatens our ethos and identities as Muslims, as Afghans and as Pakistanis.
We need to work together not only to protect our states and people but also to protect our common value system.
Pakistan welcomes the transition of security responsibilities to the Afghan forces and uphold the right of the Afghan state to have a strong national security force to defend the motherland.
Also, Pakistan supports the reconciliation process which is aimed at bringing peace and sustainable economic development to Afghanistan.
There is no debate on the fact that a strong, stable, prosperous and united Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s national interest. Any contrary hypothesis is disingenuous.
Pakistan is deeply committed to improving ties with Afghanistan. We believe our two countries can build a lasting partnership based on the principles of non-interference and respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are committed to removing misunderstandings of the past and nurture an atmosphere of trust and confidence.
Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen for celebrating our National Day with us. I particularly thank our chief guest, His Excellency the Foreign Minister and invite him to address us.