Islamabad, November 22, 2016 (PPI-OT):Minister Ahsan Iqbal shows concern over international community’s insensitivity towards human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir. H.E. Syed Ibne Abbas, Pakistan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom hosted a lunch in honour of cross party British parliamentarians at the British Parliament on 21 November 2016. The lunch was also attended by Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Minister of State Dr. Miftah Ismail. The lunch was organized to apprise the British parliamentarians on economic turnaround of Pakistan, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the regional situation including Kashmir.
Minister Ahsan Iqbal briefed the parliamentarians on the government reforms agenda. He elaborated Four E’s–Economy, Energy, Extremism and Education, the priority areas of the government–and updated them on the significant progress made by the government in these four key areas. The Minister also updated the parliamentarians on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and highlighted its importance in economic integration of the region and socio economic uplift of the people not only in Pakistan but in the entire region.
The Minister informed Lords and MPs about the four pillars of CPEC which includes: a) Regional Economic integration, b) Development of Gwadar Port, c) Connectivity with China, and d) Development of economic zones. The Minister also shared his views on how UK can benefit from CPEC initiative. Minister Ahsan Iqbal raised with the parliamentarians the issue of the worst human rights violations by the Indian security forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). He urged the international community including UK to play their constructive role in ending the human rights violation in IOK and resolving the dispute.
The Minister emphasized that the insensitivity of the international community towards the sufferings of the oppressed people of Kashmir can feed to the narrative of extremists. Speaking on India, Pakistan relations, the Minister highlighted the escalation in tension between India and Pakistan due to unprovoked violations of Line of Control and the Working Boundary by India. He said Pakistan has so far shown maximum restraint but it should not be taken as its weakness.
Mr. Ahsan Iqbal explained in detail the achievement made by Pakistan in its fight against extremism and terrorism. He said that security situation in the country has significantly improved, particularly in Karachi, where business and commercial activities are picking up again and crime rate has significantly come down. Responding to a question of an MP, the Minister explained that federal government was working closely with all the provinces on various infrastructure projects including the CPEC.
The parliamentarians appreciated government of Pakistan’s efforts for economic turnaround and its improved revenue collection. They also spoke positively about improved security situation in the country. The Lords and MPs were of the view that Pakistan UK trade and economic relations can further expand in the wake of Brexit as the UK would be looking for new trade partners.
The parliamentarians who attended the lunch included Mr Khalid Mahmood MP, Lord Nazir Ahmed, Lord Qurban Hussain, Mr Rehman Chishti MP, Ms Yasmeen Qureshi MP, Shadow Minister for Justice, Ms Naz Shah MP, Nusrat Ghani MP, Ms Julie Cooper MP, Ms Liz McInnes MP, Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr. Graham Jones MP, Mr Andrew Stephenson MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary, Mr. John Spellar MP, Mr Gavin Shuker MP, Mr Mark Pritchard MP.
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