President Arif Alvi on Monday called on educated Afghan students who have completed higher education in Pakistan to head back to their country and help rebuild Afghanistan anew.

Addressing Pak-Afghan cultural event, Payam-e-Subh, organised by Higher Education Commission (HEC) for Afghan students pursuing higher education in universities across Pakistan, the president said Afghan students studying in Pakistan were the elite and privileged ones among Afghans. “You have been given the opportunity to study in Pakistan. Go back to your country with better education and skills, as it is your responsibility to rebuild your country.”

Alvi said Afghanistan had been subject to a number of miseries, however, the Afghan nation had proved that nobody could subjugate them. He said Pakistan and Afghanistan enjoyed brotherly relations and the two countries had always stood by each other. “Nobody can defeat the friendly bonds between the two countries,” he affirmed.

“Pakistan wants peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and will continue extending its all-out support in its rebuilding process,” he added.

The president lamented that both Pakistan and Afghanistan had suffered at the hands of poverty, rivalries, extremism and terrorism. “Let’s act together against these common enemies. Afghanistan deserves peace and a huge rebuilding process awaits you. Pakistan will always be there to support you.”

Alvi praised HEC for organising the Pak-Afghan cultural event, saying cultural events provided opportunities of cultural exchanges that improved communication among nations. The president also launched the logo of Allama Iqbal Scholarship for Afghan Students, an initiative of the Government of Pakistan.

HES Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri said Allama Iqbal Scholarship for Afghan Students would not only provide opportunity to Afghan youth to study in top Pakistani universities, but was also a mean to promote diversity on campuses.

“Education is incomplete without exposure of students to diverse cultures”, he said, adding that “the programme also helps building people-to-people contacts between Pakistan and Afghanistan”. Banuri noted that Pakistan and Afghanistan shared religious as well as cultural roots and the Pak-Afghan cultural event reflected commonness of the two societies.

The cultural event was attended by a delegation from Afghanistan along with around 1,000 Afghan students. Renowned Pakistani artistes including Tina Sani, Bakhtiyar Khattak, Gul Panra, and Laila Khan enthralled the audience on the occasion.

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