PESHAWAR, 08 December: The two-day “Hearth of Asia – Istanbul Process” began in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The objective of the conference is to formulate joint strategy for durable peace and stability in the region and more particularly in Afghanistan.

On the first day, the ministerial level session of the conference was held, however, it will be formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday.

Addressing the ministerial level session of the conference, Advisor to Prime Minister on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz said the conference has been convened for restoring peace in Afghanistan. He said, “Pakistan believes that a stable and peaceful Afghanistan is in the interest of the whole region.”

Afghanistan’s deputy foreign minister Hikmat Khalil Karzai also addressed the conference and said terrorism could only be defeated if we all make a joint front against it.

Afghan President will be arriving in Islamabad on Wednesday to participate in the conference whereas Indian foreign minister Sushma Sawraj has already reached Islamabad.

Delegates from China, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Azerbaijan, Kirghizstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan have been participating in the conference.

The Heart of Asia conference was first held in Istanbul in 2001 with the joint efforts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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