ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said Pakistan was looking forward to deepening further its cooperation with its European partners in key areas, including trade, investment, energy, infrastructure development, education and human resource development.
“European countries, as our largest trade and investment partners, enjoy a unique position in our priorities,” he added.
The Prime Minister was addressing the ambassadors of European countries to Pakistan at a luncheon hosted in their honour at the Prime Minister House, said a press release.
He said,” We are very satisfied and deeply encouraged to see the progress towards grant of GSP+ status to Pakistan, which is going to be voted on by the European Parliament. I know this for a fact that our high hopes about Pakistan winning this status are very strongly founded on supportive and cooperative role of the resident missions.”
He expressed his deep gratitude to them for their support and assistance in this regard.
The Prime Minister expressed his confidence that given Pakistan’s ever strengthening relations and mutual confidence, ambassadors’ efforts and support to Pakistan would go a long way in benefiting all, and in particular, Pakistan, by stimulating further economic growth, curbing extremism and promoting social stability.
Pakistan was a country full of potential, but not yet really exploited. “We are looking to working closely with you, both in exploring, exploiting and developing this potential and realizing the opportunities,” he added.
Addressing the issue of drone attacks, the Prime Minister said, “You are fully aware of the counterproductive impact of the continuing drone strikes. We are fully engaged in sensitizing the international community about the impact of these attacks and persuading it to find ways and means to curb terrorism that are not counter-productive.”
Nawaz Sharif said the government was determined to rid Pakistan of terrorism and extremism. This menace was complex in nature and rooted in the events of the past three decades, having global, regional and local dimensions. “We believe that the best way to deal with these challenges is through national consensus, which we are generating through various forums including the All Parties Conference and the Parliamentary resolutions,”
The Prime Minister said,”One of the foremost foreign policy priorities is to have good neighbourly, friendly and cooperative relations with all our neighbours including India, based on mutual respect and esteem.”
He told the ambassadors that the new government has approached the internal and external challenges by creating a climate of political tolerance and accommodation, based on respect of mandates of all parties.
Our initial steps were focused on achieving a measure of macroeconomic stability, he said.
The Prime Minister said a multi-pronged strategy was being developed to address the energy crisis. “Last week, I have launched a Business Loan scheme to promote Small and Medium Enterprise across the country,” he added.
He said, “These interventions will go a long way in creating job opportunities, stimulating growth and improving the quality of our human resource.
“We have developed a comprehensive development plan, the Vision 2025. The purpose of these measures is to put our country on the path of progress, peace and sustainable development.”
The High Commissioner of UK and ambassadors of France, Italy, Germany, Czech, Spain, Hungary, Greece Romania, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Poland and Ambassador of European Union to Pakistan attended the lunch.