Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif Meets With Angela Merkel

We want cordial ties with India and Afghanistan: Nawaz

ISLAMABAD (Neo Web Desk) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while addressing the Belarusian State University in Minsk on Tuesday stressed the need for regional peace and prosperity and said, “We want cordial and cooperative ties with India and Afghanistan.”The Prime Minister also said, “We will not allow our territory to be used by any terrorists irrespective of their nationality or ethnicity.”Nawaz also spoke of Pakistan’s commitment towards eradicating “the menace of terrorism from its soil”.”Our relations with Russia are on an upward trend,” he added while expounding on his “vision of a peaceful neighbourhood”.”Pakistan wants good relations with all its neighbours on the basis of sovereign equality,” he said.He emphasised the importance of using trade to enhance regional prosperity and encouraged investment in Pakistan.”Today Pakistan is one of the most investor-friendly countries in the world. All sectors are open to foreign investment with no upper limit to foreign equity,” he said.He spoke of the government’s plans to expand foreign direct investment in the power, infrastructural development, agricultural and agro-based industry, mining, and oil and gas exploration sectors.The government, he said, “aims to revive the economy, overcome energy shortages, eradicate extremism and promote human rights”.”We are committed to good governance, fiscal discipline, widening the tax base and introducing fiscal measures to promote the economy,” he said.PM Nawaz is on a three-day official visit to Belarus. During the visit, the premier will have a one on one meeting with president of Belarus followed by the delegation level talks.The prime minister will also participate in Pakistan-Belarus Business and Investment Forum. The president of Belarus and the prime minister will inaugurate joint Pak-Belarus Business Forum.The Pakistani premier told the Belarusian parliament that the government had “almost double” its budgetary allocation for education.“We remain committed to increase it further to reach the mark of 4pc of GDP,” he added.“We in Pakistan have a particular focus on the development of our educational institutions. Our Vision 2025 emphasises a knowledge-based economy,” he said, referring to the government’s five year plan.The Prime Minister called for “closer collaboration both regionally and globally” to combat regional challenges such as security, development, climate change and depleting water resources.He also said, “the rise of Asia as a global political and economic powerhouse is a momentous development. The shanghai cooperation organisation and Eurasian economic union are growing at an accelerate pace. The creation of the Asian infrastructure bank is an important accomplishment.”He added that he sees Pakistan as a gateway of trade and energy between our northern, eastern and western neighbours, connecting the region through trade routes, oil and gas pipelines and power transmission lines.The prime minister mentioned his need for improving connectivity and efficiency by spreading a network of roads, railways and telecommunications. He felt that China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will change the entire dynamics of the region especially with its connectivity projects.He also said, “Our region also has ample opportunity for cooperating in the field of energy. We can all reap the harvest from various energy projects in the region such as central Asia, south Asia 1000 and Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline (Tapi) projects.””We are keen to strengthen our ties with Belarus in all spheres,” he added.Nawaz concluded with a quote from Jinnah: “The prosperity and advancement of a nation depends upon its intelligentsia.”Belarus-Pakistan friendship zindabad, long live Belarus-Pakistan friendship.Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also signed 18 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, on Monday.The MoUs cover the sectors of information, culture, education, scientific cooperation, information technology, forestry and agriculture.A number of important agreements and MoUs were signed during the visit. The agreements and MoUs focused on agriculture machinery, tractor plant, milk and dairy industry.An MoU also declares Islam­abad and Minsk sister cities.“We want bilateral cooperation with Pakistan in all fields,” said the president of Belarus.“By working together we can unlock the vast potential of mutually beneficial cooperation in industrial and agricultural sectors. We had a productive round of talks, and matters related to trade, industry, agriculture and investment were discussed in detail,” elaborated Nawaz Sharif.

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