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March 14, 2019

Challenges being faced on western border: Qureshi

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March 14, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday said Pakistan faces a challenging situation on the western front in Afghanistan as well as the eastern front.

Addressing the Business Leaders’ Summit in Islamabad, the foreign minister said, “We have a challenging situation on the western front in Afghanistan and we have a situation brewing up on the eastern front. You saw what happened in the last few days post-Pulwama.”

“A war frenzy generated for political considerations,” Qureshi said. “A political party not doing well, the economy not going well, diverting the attention of the nation and creating a bogey and Pakistan bashing is a vote-getter on the eastern side.”

The foreign minister further said the topmost priority of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is to revitalise the national economy.

“PTI’s economic team under the leadership of Finance Minister Asad Umar has taken many steps for economic uplift of the country during the first six months of the government,” he said.

“The government is taking steps to create investment opportunities in the country and these steps have already paid the dividends,” Qureshi said.

He continued, “When Prime Minister Imran Khan came into power six months ago, he inherited a lot of challenges, including corruption and other socio-economic ills, which had to be overcome.”

“PTI has been elected on the agenda of change and the people will see a change by the end of the tenure of the present government,” the foreign minister assured.

Qureshi added that the priorities of the government are clear. “The government’s leadership is very clear on its priorities. We do not have Swiss bank accounts and Canadian passports.”

Speaking about business opportunities, the foreign minister said the United Arab Emirates is taking a keen interest in making investment in different sectors of the country. Qatar also plans to invest in the country’s food processing industry.”

“The government plans to make Pakistan a hub of business and investment in the region,” he said.

Qureshi also thanked European foreign ministers and parliamentarians for supporting Pakistan in securing GSP Plus facility for its exports. “Agreements between the European Union and Pakistan are going to take place on March 26,” he said.

Moreover, he said the government is focusing on economic diplomacy and to increase bilateral trade as Pakistan has a geostrategic location. “We are increasing bilateral trade with Iran, China and other countries of the region,” Qureshi said. “China is our strategic partner and we want to transform this relationship into an economic partnership. We are negotiating with China to help Pakistan in the agriculture sector and in establishing of economic zones.”

On relations with India, Qureshi said, the premier had offered a hand of friendship towards New Delhi after assuming office. “PM Imran reaffirmed that Islamabad will take two steps if New Delhi takes one. Pakistan wants to solve issues with India through negotiations,” he said.

He said the government will meet the opposition to draft a plan of action to counter terrorism.

The foreign minister said, “The government along with the opposition will draft a plan of action to counter terrorism. We will take all representatives along and move forward with national consensus.”

“Following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s approval, we are about to write letters to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan People’s Part President Asif Ali Zardari and Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman,” he added. The foreign minister further said, “All parliamentary leaders will also be invited to the Foreign Office.”

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