ISLAMABAD : President Asif Ali Zardari said on Thursday that Pakistan’s needs for capacity enhancement to effectively dealing with the threat of terrorism must be accorded priority by the international community and its friends. He was talking to a delegation from the United Kingdom (UK) comprising members of House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, who called on him at Aiwan-e-Sadr.The UK delegation consisted of Richard Ottaway, MP-FAC Chair, Sir John Stanley, Andrew Rosindell, Mike Grape, Frank Roy, David Watts, Rory Stewart, Ms. Adele Brown, Foreign Committee Specialists and others. British High Commissioner Adam Thomson was also present during the meeting.Pakistan side included Interior Minister A Rehman Malik, M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Nawabzada Malik Amad Khan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Mehreen Anwar Raja, Minister of State for Law & Justice, Senator Sughra Imam, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar besides other senior officials.
Pakistan-UK bilateral relations, strategic dialogue, fight against militancy, situation in the region, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts for the flood affected people, trade access to the European Union (EU) for Pakistan’s goods, PDF moot and other related issues were discussed during the meeting.The President appreciated the UK government’s continued support to the democratic dispensation in Pakistan in overcoming the challenges faced by it.Highlighting the commonality of interests and the shared objectives, the President emphasized upon the need to further strengthen institutional contacts and strategic and cooperative ties between the two countries.He said,” the shared threat posed by the militancy and a common stance to neutralize this threat call for greater cooperation”. He said that Pakistan had been the worst victim of the scourge of militancy which was not confined to one country alone.The President while lauding valuable assistance from the UK during recent floods, said that the people and the Government of Pakistan greatly appreciated assistance from the international community, especially from the friends, at this hour of need.He also thanked the British Government and the British Prime Minister for advocating Pakistan’s case for getting access to EU markets saying that it would go a long way in providing much needed support to the war ravaged and flood stricken economy of the country.
Discussing regional issues, the President said that Pakistan had always called upon the international community for finding a permanent solution to the sources of funding for terrorists and to address the issue of illegal drugs production and trafficking that was a major threat to international peace and stability.He said that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan was in the interest of Pakistan and it had always supported every effort of the international community in this regard.The President said that he looked forward to the visit of Prime Minister Cameron next month that would not only serve to strengthen the existing ties between the two countries but would also provide an opportunity to discuss issues of mutual and shared concerns.The President also emphasized the need for streamlining the issuance of visas to Pakistani businessmen, students and other travellers and to address the concerns about the issues involved.
The delegation members thanked the President for meeting and assured that the UK would continue its support of the democratic dispensation in Pakistan.Richard Ottaway, MP-FAC Chair, underscored the need for both the countries to work more closely and acknowledged great sacrifices made by Pakistan in the war against militants – App