ISLAMABAD:(APS)November 24,2016-Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs of UK the RT Hon Boris Johnson called on Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at PM House today.
Warmly welcoming the Secretary on his first visit to Pakistan, the Prime Minister expressed his confidence that under its new leadership, Britain will emerge stronger and continue playing an important role in the world affairs.Recalling his cordial meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May on the margins of the UN General Assembly session in New York in September 2016, the Prime Minister said that he looks forward to welcome the British Prime Minister in Islamabad next year.
Pakistan considers the UK a close friend and a trusted partner; our bilateral relations are founded on shared history, cultural linkages and strong people-to-people contacts, the Prime Minister stated. Pakistan and the UK have strong economic and trade ties; we are confident that our existing relations with the UK would be further enhanced to the mutual benefit of both countries, especially in the field of trade and investment, the Prime Minister said. Pakistan greatly appreciates the work undertaken by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) that has created tremendous goodwill for the UK in Pakistan, the Prime Minister said.
Highlighting Pakistan’s contributions in the global fight against terrorism, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan has been the worst victim of terrorism. We have lost over 60,000 lives and suffered huge economic losses in our fight against terrorism; we are fighting this war as an imperative not as an option, the Prime Minister stated. The successfully ongoing military operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ is in its final phase and the National Action Plan (NAP) has been launched to deal with the threat of violent extremism and radicalization, the Prime Minister said. We are committed to take strongest possible action against all terrorists and extremists without any exception, the Prime Minister emphasized.
Building close, cooperative relations with neighbouring countries, remains a key priority of our foreign policy, said the Prime Minister. Pakistan supports an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan; we will continue to support all initiatives in this direction, the Prime Minister stated.
We are deeply concerned at the recent developments in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the gross human rights violations by Indian security forces, the Prime Minister further said. Pakistan wants a serious, sustained and result-oriented dialogue with India on all issues of mutual concern; the unresolved Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains the main threat to security in the region, the Prime Minister expressed with concern. Referring to the recent ceasefire violations by Indian security forces along the LoC, the Prime Minister said that India has deliberately escalated tensions at the LoC in order to try to divert the attention of the international community from the grave situation in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, where the Indian occupation forces have unleashed a reign of terror committing brutalities against innocent and defenseless people. International Community, particularly the UK should take notice of the gravity of the situation and call on India to respect human rights of the people of Kashmir and implement the UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister urged.
Appreciating the leadership role of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif the British Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs said that Britain will continue to be the champion of Pakistan in its region; Pakistan’s endeavours for regional peace, stability and prosperity are indeed exemplary. The CPEC is a landmark and fantastic dream being translated into reality, the Secretary commended. Britain appreciates Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s efforts for achieving macroeconomic stability; will support Pakistan in GSP Plus scheme, the British Secretary stated. Mr. Boris Johnson congratulated the Prime Minister on the passage of honour killing bill and termed it as remarkable achievement of the present government. Lauding the visionary role of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the Secretary said that Britain appreciates and endorses the vision of the Prime Minister for reaching out to neighbouring countries for the sake of regional peace and collective betterment. The United Kingdom endorses and supports Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for stability, peace and development in the region, the Secretary stated. The Secretary congratulated the Prime Minister on improvement in security situation across Pakistan and said that UK is ready to support Pakistan in security collaboration. Mr. Johnson said that Britain is ready to boost bilateral trade between the two countries; the business environment in Pakistan is ideal in the backdrop of the stage set by the Prime Minister by turning around the economy. The Secretary assured the Prime Minister that he will be convincing the British investors for significantly expanding their investments and businesses in the diverse sectors of Pakistan’s economy. The British Foreign Secretary said that his first visit to Pakistan is an eye-opener for him. Pakistan is indeed a wonderful country having great and dynamic people, and offering fantastic opportunities to the international investors.