Pak, Iran enjoy close ties: PM Raja Ashraf
05 December, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has said that Pakistan and Iran enjoy close and brotherly relations, which are rooted in historical, cultural and religious commonalities.
The prime minister expressed these views in a meeting with Iranian Parliamentary delegation led by Chairman Standing Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy of Majlis, Alaeddin Broujeri at the PM's House on Tuesday.
He noted with satisfaction that cooperation between the two countries is on a positive trajectory. He underscored the importance of constant and extended contact between parliamentarians and public representatives of the two countries to further cement the existing warm relations.
The premier said that the close economic ties between the two countries are reflected in the cooperation on the gas pipeline project, electricity and infrastructure projects.
On Afghanistan, the prime minister said that Iran and Pakistan have shared objectives and both the countries have to work in tandem for peace and reconciliation. He said that a peaceful, prosperous and stable Afghanistan is in the interest of not only Pakistan but also the entire region. He said, "Terrorism and extremism are our common enemies must join hands to defeat these." Alaeddin Broujeri said that Iran is keen to expand and strengthen its relations with Pakistan. In this connection agriculture is one area where both countries can cooperate more intensely, he added.
Alaeddin Broujeri thanked the Prime Minister who asked him to convey his best wishes to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Other members of the delegation included Mohammad Esmaeili and Ali Reza Ayyari.
Rehman Malik, Minister for Interior, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed and other senior government officials were also present during the meeting.
Separately, the amendment of General System of Preferences (GSP) by European Union in order to grant eligibility to Pakistan to have better market access is a major achievement of the present democratic government.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf stated this while chairing a meeting of concerned ministries and provincial governments to review the status of preparations for Pakistan's entry into GSP Plus, at the Prime Minister's Secretariat.
The prime minister said that Pakistan looks forward to its inclusion in EU's GSP Plus Scheme from 2014 onward. The increased trade with EU will earn much needed foreign exchange earnings as well as create employment opportunities in the country, he added. During the meeting it was emphasized that for Pakistan's GSP Plus application to succeed, it would be essential to ensure that the specified seven international conventions are being effectively implemented. These conventions relate to human rights, labour rights, environment and narcotics.
The PM urged the taskforce to ensure that this important achievement of the government is taken to its logical conclusion by fulfilling procedural EU formalities in a timely manner. In this connection, the Prime Minister directed the setting up of an Inter-Ministerial Task Force to coordinate the GSP Plus application process.
Meanwhile, MNA Sardar Muhammad Mushtaq Khan called on Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf at the PM's House Tuesday and apprised him about the development projects in his area.
He informed the Prime Minister about the progress on Taxila-Haripur road initiated by the present government. He also invited the Prime Minister to inaugurate the road. Prime Minister accepted the invitation in principal. Separately, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam called on Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf at the PM's House here on Tuesday and briefed him about the current status of Karachi Mega Projects. Sughra Imam informed the prime minister that the federal government in cooperation with the Sindh Government is working on four mega projects, which include Lyari Expressway, Hyderabad Motorway, Karachi Water Supply Scheme and Karachi Circular Railway.
The PM appreciated the efforts being made by Senator Syeda Sughra Imam and personal interest in piloting these projects.