KARACHI: Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan Greg Giokas Saturday called on the former President Asif Ali Zardari here and discussed matters of mutual interest.
During the meeting Asif Ali Zardari appreciated the support extended by Canada to Pakistan in various fields and in supporting democracy in Pakistan and in overcoming various challenges, a statement issued from Bilawal House said.
Talking to the High Commissioner the former President underscored the significance of Pakistan as an important regional player in South Asia that could play an effective role for the stability, peace and prosperity of the region.
He also highlighted the sacrifices rendered by the people and defence forces in fighting the terror threat and stressed the need for international community to help alleviate sufferings of the people in the war against militancy.
Asif Zardari said that as President he had always been advocating the need that the international community should set up a victims’ fund for the rehabilitation of the victims of militancy.
He said that the year 2014 was very crucial as security and political transition takes place in Afghanistan and the international forces begin to pull out of that country, which will have profound implications not only for Afghanistan but for all countries in the region. He said that a peaceful, economically stable and vibrant Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan and we would gladly play our due role in this regard.
Asif Ali Zardari said that as a political party the PPP also had suffered hugely in the fight against militancy and recalled how its leader Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto laid down her life fighting militancy.
The former President said that neutralizing the extremists whether through negotiations or use of force was only one part of the battle.
He said that for this Pakistanis needed greater international support to give hope to the people through creation of jobs and economic opportunities
The former President also hosted lunch in honor of Canadian High Commissioner Greg Giokas. The Canadian High Commissioner thanked the former President for the meeting.
Later in the afternoon the Indian High Commissioner Dr. T.C.A. Raghavan also called on former President Asif Ali Zardari and discussed matters of mutual interest.
Felicitating once again the Indian High Commissioner on his appointment Asif Ali Zardari stressed the need for improved bilateral relations for the sake of well being of over a billion people of the two countries and for regional peace and security. There is no alternative to peace through an honorable resolution of disputes between the two countries.
The former president said that there was an increasing political consensus in Pakistan on seeking normalization of relations with India.
He said that the PPP has long been in favour of trade with India, greater people to people contacts and strengthening SAARC as a trading bloc as instruments for normalization of relations.
He said that the Party had introduced the concept of visa free travel in SAARC countries to groups of people including Parliamentarians and Judges and also introduced the South Asian Preferential Tariff Agreement.
He said that the path to peace lay through confidence building, conflict management and creation of a trading bloc of nations to improve the living conditions of all people of South Asia.
High Commissioner Dr.T C A Raghavan thanked the former President for the meeting.
Patron in Chief of PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Bakhtwar Bhutto Zardari were also present in both the meetings.