Pakistan desires stronger defence ties with GCC: PM Ashraf
18 October, 2012
KUWAIT CITY: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Wednesday said that Pakistan has been working for an early conclusion of free trade agreement (FTA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council and expressed the desire to further strengthen defence cooperation.
During his meeting with the king of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah, on the sidelines of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit on Wednesday, the premier said that the two countries enjoy close, cordial and friendly relations based on mutual trust and understanding. He said that Pakistan attaches great importance and was keen to strengthen its relations with Bahrain. Raja commended King Hamad's endeavour to promote understanding among various segments of society and to resolve the problems of his people through dialogue.
He noted that Pakistan diaspora was significantly contributing to the development and progress in Bahrain both in public and private sectors. He said that 65,000-strong Pakistani expatriate community in Bahrain is an asset for both the countries. He also thanked Bahrain for taking care of the Pakistani community. Raja said that economic and trade relations between the two countries have been steadily improving, however, they were well below the real potential. He said it is the need of the hour to improve this by availing existing opportunities.
The prime minister sad it was important to hold meetings of the Bilateral Consultations and Joint Ministerial Commission as they were long overdue. Raja also extended an invitation to King Hamad to visit Pakistan, which he accepted. The monarch said Pakistan was his second home and thanked the government and people of Pakistan for their continued support. Prime Minister Raja also held bilateral discussions with Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. He thanked the amir for inviting him to the ACD Summit and extending hospitality to his delegation. Sheikh Sabah said that the relations between the two countries had been smooth, friendly, close and brotherly. He said that he was looking forward to visit Pakistan since a huge Pakistani community was working in Kuwait and making a valuable contribution to the country's economy.
Pakistan and Kuwait enjoy a long history of cordial, brotherly relationship based on strong religious and cultural ties. These bonds of friendship exist at official level as well as between the people of the two countries. Pakistan was among those countries that sent their troops to Kuwait following the Iraqi invasion in 1990. Nine Pakistani soldiers embraced martyrdom during the mine cleaning operation there.
Kuwait, on its part, has always extended help to Pakistan. The government and the people donated generously after the 2005 earthquake and the recent devastating floods.