ISLAMABAD: Britain on Tuesday, while welcoming Pakistan’s investigation of the Pathankot incident, urged both Pakistan and India not to let “non-state actors” derail the peace process.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, addressing a joint press conference here along with Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, said “I urge both Pakistan and India not to allow non-state actors and other pressure groups derail the peace process.”
The British foreign secretary termed Pakistan’s fight against terror as a “role model” and expressed the hope that progress would be made in the investigation.
Hammond also lauded Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism and said his country would continue to support Pakistan in the war on terror.
“I salute Pakistan’s efforts in the fight against terrorism. Pakistan is the victim of terrorism and we want to work with Pakistan to take on the threats it faces.”
He said the two countries would remain partner against terrorism.
The Advisor on Foreign Affairs said Pak-India talks were not tied to the investigation of the Pathankot incident and added that Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team will visit India in a few days to gather evidence.
Without giving a date, he expressed the hope that the foreign secretaries of the two countries would meet soon.
Philip Hammond referring to the Pakistan-India ties, welcomed the commitment shown by Pakistan to investigate the Pathankot incident. To a question, he said his country supports dialogue between Pakistan and India for peace and security in the region.
Advisor Sartaj Aziz expressed confidence that the Afghan reconciliation process would start in the next few days.
Hammond welcomed Pakistan’s efforts for reconciliation in Afghanistan and said they discussed support of the international community to the Afghan reconciliation process.
To a question, he said peace in the region was vital for both the countries and said there was a need for more confidence building between the two countries to stop the use of their soil for launching terrorist attacks.
Pakistan and the United Kingdom also agreed on a three-year roadmap for enhanced cooperation in different fields, with a particular focus on the health and education sectors.
The understanding for the three-year roadmap from 2016-18 came at a meeting between Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond, following a round of talks here at the Foreign Office.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said the two countries will be holding next round of their strategic dialogue in the next few weeks.
Pakistan and the United Kingdom agreed on the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue in April 2011 with an objective to “a stronger, deeper, franker and more practical Pakistan-UK bilateral relationship, supported by commercial engagement, which enables Pakistan and the United Kingdom to become more secure, stable and prosperous.”
The areas of cooperation include Trade and Business Relations, Financial, Macro-Economic Stabilization and Development Cooperation, Education and Health, Consultations on Defence and Security, and Cultural Cooperation.
Sartaj Aziz said both Pakistan and Britain share convergence of views on regional and international issues and committed to further enhance their multifaceted relations. He said they discussed bilateral investment and trade and appreciated UK’s assistance in the fields of education and health.
The Britain’s Secretary of State Philip Hammond said both the countries enjoy excellent relations, spanning over decades.
Philip Hammond was also appreciative of Pakistan’s successes on the security and economic fronts and said Pakistan’s geo- strategic location which was hitherto a source of tension, was now a source of opportunity.
He said the development of the North-South energy route and East-West trade routes to China would boost economic activity.
He said the United Kingdom desires to work with Pakistan for long-term opportunities to bring peace and prosperity to the peoples of two countries.