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European Parliament is flag-bearer of freedom, human rights in world, says PM

18 February, 2007

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said that European Parliament is a flag-bearer of freedom and human rights in the world and Pakistan expects it to make a fair, balanced and meaningful contribution in facilitating a peaceful and just settlement of the Kashmir dispute which has impeded normalization of relations between Pakistan and India.

The Prime Minister was talking to Mr. Richard Howitt, British Member of European Parliament who called on him at the PM's House on Saturday.

The Prime Minister said that both European Union and Pakistan are active partners in the fight of terrorism, reconstruction of Afghanistan and in the maintenance of global peace and security. Pakistan is committed to continue this partnership, he added.

The Prime Minister emphasized that Pakistan highly values its relations with the European Union and called for greater cooperation especially through enhancing trade.

The Prime Minister said that the greater access to the European markets will help to Pakistan achieve its social development plans. He said that the approval of free Trade Agreement (FTA) by the Cabinet would pave the process for third generation agreement between Pakistan and European Union by opening new areas of cooperation leading to enhance trade.

Talking about rehabilitation, relief and reconstruction activity in the earthquake affected areas of AJK and NWFP; the Prime Minister said it is going on in full swing on Build Back Better basis. He said all educational facilities and hospitals, clinics, offices and roads are fully operational in temporary and make shift premises. He the commitment of the Pakistan government is demonstrated by the fact that not a single person lost life due to lack of food, shelter, and medicine or epidemic despite grim forecast.

The Prime Minister welcomed the visit of Mr. Richard Howitt and appreciated his efforts to engage European Union for the just settlement of Kashmir dispute according to the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. While referring the ideas floated by President General Pervez Musharraf the Prime Minister said it provides an ideal base for discussion leading to a just settlement of the Kashmir issue.

Mr. Richard Howitt assured the Prime Minister of European Parliament's continued supports in all fields of mutual interest. He said that EU is appreciative of the fact that Pakistan is playing a stabilizing role in the region.

He said that Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz's interaction with the leaders of European Union during his recent visit to Davos and Brussels has led to a better understanding of Pakistan's role in the region and its policies.

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