Islamabad: Expressing hope for early finalization of a roadmap for strategic partnership between Pakistan and Germany, President Asif Ali Zardari has said that time has arrived to transform existing broad-based equation with Germany into a broad-based, comprehensive and substantive partnership based on shared values of democracy, pluralism, economic liberalism and common interests.
This he said during his meeting with Dr. Guido Westerwelle, German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, here at Aiwan-e-Sadr today.
German Foreign Minister was accompanied by Michael Steiner, Germany’s special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mr. Michael Koch, Ambassador in Islamabad, Mr. Heiko Thoms, Dr. Philipp Ackermann and other officials.
Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General, Mr. Shahid Kamal, Pak Ambassador in Germany, Spokesperson to the President Mr. Farhatullah Babar and other senior officials were also present from Pak side.
The President during meeting said that Pakistan seeks to further enhance its relations with Germany, both at the bilateral level as well as in the EU context.
The President stressed the need for greater economic cooperation between the two countries saying that Germany was a global economic power and Pakistan offered great opportunities to investors in economic projects.
He said that Pakistan was keen to expand its trade relations with Germany which was the fourth largest trading partner of the country and proposed the setting up of a Joint Working Group on trade. The President also called for early establishment of German Chamber of Commerce in Pakistan which he said would enhance mutual trade.
He said that Bilateral Investment Treaty between Pakistan and Germany signed in 2009 should serve to promote greater German investment in the country and that the investors from both the sides need to take benefit from this development.
Noting German investment with over 40 multinationals operating in the country, the President said that Pakistan offered great opportunities in energy, infrastructure, agriculture and construction and German investors could benefit from the investment friendly policies and incentives offered by the Government of Pakistan. He suggested to the Foreign Minister to encourage Germany’s businessmen and investors to favourably look at opportunities present in this country.
The President said that greater trade would also enhance people-to-people contacts and interactions at all levels thus further strengthening the relationship. He said that regular political consultations would promote better understanding of perspectives on issues of mutual interest.
The President appreciated the Government and peoples of Germany for their generous assistance and support for the calamity hit people of Pakistan, especially for the flood affected people of Sindh province. He also appreciated Germany’s development assistance for Pakistan which has increased three-fold during the last couple of years.
He said that Germany may also consider assisting Pakistan in income generating projects and improving educational and health facilities in the tribal areas of the country.
The President said that the Government of Pakistan was conscious of mobilizing domestic resources for overcoming its economic difficulties and was committed to maintain fiscal discipline and promote growth. However, we expect support of the international community in rehabilitating the militancy and calamity-hit economy.
The President said that the ongoing war against militancy was a long drawn battle and fighting it militarily was just one component of the overall strategy. Other equally important components were to focus on development of those areas which were worst hit by militancy and to create economic opportunities for the people. Promoting socio-economic development was the most effective way to curb militancy and to wean away youth falling trap into the hands of militants, he said.
The President said that lack of economic opportunities, under-development and education facilities was exploited by the militants. We need to bring about qualitative change in lives of the people especially that of tribal areas to defeat militancy, he emphasized.
The President during meeting also reiterated his call for greater market access for Pakistani products in the European Union and thanked the German Government for its support in this regard. Appreciating Foreign Minister’s personal efforts for securing trade concessions for Pakistan, the President said that Pakistan looks forward to Germany’s continued support in the EU Parliament and the WTO for early approval of the concessional trade package proposed by the European Commission.
He also thanked the German Government for its support and active role at the platform of FoDP.
The President said that as main victim of the extremist’s mindset, Pakistan has always supported every effort intended towards containing militancy. He said that we have abiding interest in peace and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan wished that the upcoming Bonn conference focused on Afghanistan was successful.
Other matters that came under discussion included need to further enhance mutual Parliamentary exchanges, extending cooperation in the areas of renewable energy technologies and biotechnology, educational and cultural cooperation, defence relations and overall regional situation.
Dr. Guido Westerwelle thanked the President for meeting and assured German Government’s continued support to the people of Pakistan and democratic dispensation of the country.
For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326