Pakistan, EU set the tone for progress through strategic cooperation

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini of the European Union hold strategic dialogue in Islamabad on 25 March. (Photo Courtesy – Pakistan Foreign Office)
Updated 25 March 2019
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Pakistan, EU set the tone for progress through strategic cooperation

  • FM Qureshi meets with global body's top official to finalize details in Islamabad
  • Agree to work together in several major sectors

ISLAMABAD: In order to set the wheels of sustained development in motion, Pakistan and the European Union have agreed to work toward a strategic partnership in the fields of investment, energy and trade, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Monday.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met with the EU's High Representative and Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, after his arrival in Islamabad on Monday.

After the meeting, Mogherini held talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi.

President Alvi said that Pakistan’s business environment has improved due to the government’s attempts to facilitate foreign investments, inviting the EU community to invest in the country.

In a statement released by his office, Alvi welcomed the recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, adding that it could “help create a balance between exercising the right to freedom of expression and incitement/hatred towards religious views and faith".

“The president emphasized that Pakistan strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations whether perpetrated by individuals, groups or states,” the statement read.

President Alvi noted that Pakistan’s exports to the EU have increased by 38 percent, while EU’s exports to Pakistan have grown by 33 percent since the inception of the GSP Plus Scheme in 2014.

“Pakistan sees GSP Plus Scheme as constructive engagement for the betterment of its economy and values EU’s development assistance to Pakistan,” the statement said.

According to the statement, Mogherini said that there is huge potential for economic and trade relations between Pakistan and EU which needs to be fully explored and utilized.


Pakistani politicians, analysts appreciate Saudi Crown Prince’s stance on regional peace

Updated 17 June 2019
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Pakistani politicians, analysts appreciate Saudi Crown Prince’s stance on regional peace

  • The Crown Prince’s recent statement reflects his wisdom and restraint, says Senator Sehar Kamran
  • International community must act to defuse situation in the Middle East, maintains senior analyst Zahid Hussain

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s major political parties and analysts on Monday appreciated Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s statement that the Kingdom did not want a war in the Middle East.
In an interview last week, the Crown Prince also called for a decisive international position against Iran.
“At this very critical moment, the demonstration of restraint by the Saudi Crown Prince is very much appreciated. This shows his wisdom and rationale,” Senator Sehar Kamran of the Pakistan Peoples Party told Arab News, adding: “I believe the entire world will applaud the statement. We must give peace a chance and support efforts for political solution to all outstanding issues.”
“The international community can play an important role in reminding Iran of the consequences [of war] and help initiate a dialogues process to prevent further escalation of tensions in the region,” she continued.
Kamran said the recent attack on a Saudi oil tanker was a serious issue and must be strongly condemned.
“Every nation has the right to protect its sovereignty and national assets,” she noted. “Iran must act as a responsible state. A transparent investigation of the attack by the United Nations and collective wisdom on the issue will be the best option.”
Echoing her sentiment, Romina Khurshid Alam of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party also welcomed the Crown Prince’s statement.

“Our party leadership has always advocated for peace in the region and supports Pakistan’s role as a mediator to resolve all outstanding issues,” she said.
Omar Sarfraz Cheema, the central information secretary of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, told Arab News that “the PTI strongly condemns attacks on Saudi facilities by Houthis.”
He recalled that the Pakistani leadership had expressed its desire to play a mediator’s role for peace and stability in the Middle East.
Last week, Cheema told Arab News that Prime Minister Imran Khan had already urged the Houthis to engage in “meaningful dialogue” with Saudi Arabia to resolve the conflict. “This is a divisive issue for the whole Muslim world and should be resolved through negotiations,” he added.
“Peace is essential for the development of countries in the Middle East,” former Pakistani ambassador Rizwan-ul-Haq told Arab News. “Any country which upsets the tranquility and peace of the region must be invited to explain its position to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and asked to change its stance in a unanimous and decisive way.”
“We should sit together with transgressors and find a diplomatic solution before resorting to extreme measures,” he added.
Veteran Pakistani political commentator Zahid Hussain said that “the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf and oil facilities in the Kingdom have created a serious security situation in the Middle East and there is an urgent need for the international community to act and defuse the situation.”
“The Crown Prince is right that war is not an option,” he added.