EU trade concessions to help strengthen Pakistan’s economy: Pervez Ashraf


Prime Minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf on Monday said Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with European Union which would be further strengthened with the passage of time.
Talking to President of European Council, Van Rompuy, who called on him at his Villa on the sidelines of Asia Europe Meeting Summit (ASEM-9) the Prime Minister informed him about efforts made by Pakistan for improvement of relations with India and Afghanistan. He said both Pakistan and India have taken initiatives to improve ties and resumed the composite dialogue process which entails negotiations on all outstanding issues with India.
Highlighting efforts made by government to improve human rights situation, the Prime Minister said that human rights constitutes an important part of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) manifesto.
“We have taken several measures to improve human rights situation in the country including improvement of women’s lot and protection of rights of minorities,” he added.
Prime Minister Ashraf said Pakistan is a frontline state in the war against terror and has suffered both in men and material. He expressed his resolve that Pakistan would continue its fight till this menace is rooted out.
Talking about Afghanistan, the PM said “We share long border with it and desire peace in Afghanistan.”
He said people of Pakistan generally and PPP particularly have rendered great sacrifices for democracy in the country. Late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto sacrificed their lives for upholding democratic rights of people and thousands went to jails.
He also briefed the President EC on the steps taken by the government to ensure free, fair and impartial elections in the country and expressed the hope that EU would send its observers to monitor the forthcoming general elections.
The President of EC briefed the Prime Minister about the efforts made by EU to grant trade concessions to Pakistan which was appreciated by the Prime Minister which, he added, would strengthen economy of Pakistan.
Recalling the visit of Lady Austin to Pakistan in June this year, Van Rompuy said that European Union would continue its strategic dialogue with Pakistan.
He said that the EU and Pakistan are like-minded and EU desires better relations with Pakistan and added that European Union admires the sacrifices mad e by Pakistan in fighting terrorism.
He said, “We admire you and your party for the sacrifices made for democracy in the country. We share values which make our relations lasting.”