Islamabad: British Home Secretary Theresa May called on Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani here today in the Prime Minister’s House and discussed a whole gamut of issues pertaining to cooperation in counter-terrorism, economic security and in the ongoing collaboration in the field of education, which is one of the biggest in the world.
The Prime Minister said that national security was linked with the economic security and underscored the importance of economic stability for which the UK’s co-operation was of fundamental importance. The world should help us through greater market access and with more trade and investment, the PM added.
The Prime Minister appreciated the economic assistance of the UK for the development of Pakistan, adding that terrorism was holding us back to realize full dividends because terrorist attacks in the country not only circumvent the foreign investment but also slow down economic growth thereby affecting economy in ways more than one.
The Prime Minister said that cooperation between the two countries in the war on terror has been going in the right direction. However, this cooperation should go beyond terrorism as both the countries share the history of engagement in multiple fields and their understanding of each other’s position lays the foundation of durable relations based on mutual respect and equality.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan mentioned the importance of the enhanced strategic dialogue, adding that extensive discussions which took place between the officials of the two countries during the visit of the Security Advisor, Mr. Peter Rickedds, as preparation for his visit to the UK in April next year during which he would meet his British counterpart in London during the second session of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue.
The Prime Minister said that Pakistan would support the peace process which was Afghan-led and Afghan-owned and that did not lead Pakistan into instability. “We want independent, peaceful and prosperous and stable Afghanistan.” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister said, last time at the time of Soviet withdrawal Pakistan was left with more than two million Afghan refugees to look after and they were still in the country. We want their return and settlement inside Afghanistan with honour and dignity, PM stated.
The British Home Secretary appreciated Pakistan’s sacrifices and successes in the war on terror and said that his country would continue to support Pakistan and the co-operation between both countries in different fields under the umbrella of Enhanced Strategic Dialogue would be strengthened.
The British Home Secretary said that her country’s commitment for counter-terrorism remained strong and unequivocal. She offered the UK’s assistance in imparting training to the Pakistani police in investigation and the forensic fields, which have given scientific strength to prosecution.
The British Home Secretary also mentioned the de-radicalisation programme, which had a number of successes in the country by preventing those who have the tendency to develop extremist tendencies. Its replication in Pakistan may yield the same results, she said.
She said that the UK leadership was looking forward to the visit of the Pakistan’s Prime Minister, which would go a long way to increase and strengthen cooperation in multiple fields especially in the area of counter-terrorism so critical for security and stability of this region.
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