Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari has said that Pakistan has been paying the heaviest price in the war against terrorism and it was determined to pursue the struggle till its logical conclusion. Our sacrifices, the President said, exceed any other nation and that Pakistan deserved and expected recognition by the international community.
This he said during his meeting with Mr. Douglas Alexander, Shadow Foreign Secretary of UK here at Aiwan-e-Sadr.
Mr. Douglas Alexander was accompanied by Mr. Adam Thomson, UK High Commissioner, Mr. Tom Price, Senior Advisor and Mr. Jasper Thornton.
Pak side included Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Federal Minister for Finance, Mr. M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Spokesperson to the President Mr. Farhatullah Babar.
Briefing about the meeting Spokesperson to the President Mr. Farhatullah Babar said that Pak-UK Enhanced Strategic Dialogue, war against militants, recent floods, UK assistance and regional situation was discussed during the meeting.
The President termed the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD) of the two countries as a milestone in bilateral relationship that aims at intensifying mutual interactions in the realm of security, trade, health and other sectors including education.
He said that enhanced and regular interactions as envisaged by the Dialogue would help to maintain momentum in the relationship and in convergence of point of views on important issues concerning the two states. The President also stressed the need for further enhancing economic cooperation.
The President said that Pakistan was passing through one of the difficult phase when its economy was under great stress due to recent jolt to it by yet another devastating floods. The President said that an economy already bearing the brunt of war and last year’s natural calamity has once again been hit by rains and floods where around 08 million people have been affected.
The President said that Pakistan looks forward to continued international support in trade and enhanced market access for its products in the European Union. He also appreciated UK’s support at the FoDP platform.
The President reiterated that poverty, lack of opportunities and sense of deprivation were among the main causes that contribute towards militant mindset. He said that in order to find a permanent solution to these problems the international community needs to assist all those who were struggling to overcome these root causes that breed militant mindset.
The President said that a nation who has been worst hit by the scourge of militancy and militant mindset expects recognition of its countless sacrifices, both in human and material terms. All we ask from the international community is to facilitate our trade and help us creating economic opportunities for the youth and wean them away from militants, the President continued.
The President said that Pakistan wishes to have friendly and peaceful relations with all the countries based on equality and mutual respect. He said that we would continue with our efforts to support every development that contributes towards peace, prosperity and stability of the region.
Mr. Douglas Alexander expressed sympathies over the devastation caused by the recent floods. He said there was general appreciation for the sacrifices made by the people of Pakistan in the ongoing war against terror and expressed the hope that the international community would assist Government of Pakistan in the capacity building of its institutions as well as in exploring trade opportunities and better access to the market for its products.
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