PM Ashraf calls for talks to resolve regional conflicts
13 September, 2012
TIANJIN: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Wednesday called upon the regional countries to adopt an Asia-centered approach and promote intra-regional trade for the prosperity and development of people in the region.
Speaking at one-on-one session of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting, the prime minister said the regional countries needed to create a macro framework for their direct investments and make corridors for multi-sector investment, particularly in trade and energy.
The special session titled "An Insight, An idea with PM Raja Ashraf", was moderated by China Central Television (CCTV) Director Rui Chengang and attracted a large number of participants from different countries interested in listening to the perspective of Pakistan's prime minister on regional situation and economy.
Raja said Pakistan was committed to a secure and prosperous region. He said being located at the hub of South Asia, West Asia and Central Asia, it could act as an anchor of peace and stability' in the region.
He stressed the need for dialogue for resolving conflicts and disputes among the regional countries, adding that such conflicts had been hampering the efforts to attain economic objectives. "No country can be an island into itself. We are inter-dependent and should work together," he said.
The prime minister said Pakistan earnestly sought friendly relations with all regional countries, including India, Afghanistan, Iran, China and Central Asian states.
About Afghanistan, he said Pakistan believed in its stability which would ensure region's peace. He said Pakistan was making sincere efforts to improve bilateral ties with India by pursuing dialogue on all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.
With China, he said, Pakistan enjoyed mutually beneficial relations. He said China could play an important role in regional prosperity and Pakistan could learn from the Chinese experience.
Responding to a question, the prime minister dispelled the impression that Pakistan was drawing close to China in view of the recent tensions with the United States in the wake of Abbottabad incident, adding that Pakistan's relationship with China was time-tested and deeply rooted in history. "In Pakistan, if you ask any person about China, he or she would spontaneously speak about the great friendship that is deeper than oceans and higher than mountains. And this is a reality," he said.
Raja said Pak-China friendship must not be perceived as a reaction to any change in regional situation. He said Pakistan was always ready to facilitate the international community in war against terrorism and had made enormous sacrifices. However, he stressed that no compromise would be made on the country's integrity and sovereignty.
When asked about the impact of domestic political tensions on Pakistan's economy, the prime minister said the country was passing through a transition and was effectively dealing with challenges.
Raja said Pakistan faced economic challenges during global recession but proved resilient and attained a four-percent growth rate this year.