By Asim Hussain
ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser has said that Pakistan attaches immense importance to its relations with the European Union and would like to further strengthen them through collaboration in diverse sectors.
He stated this while talking to EU Ambassador to Pakistan Ms. Androulla Kaminara who called on him at Parliament House on Tuesday. During the meeting, issues of mutual interest, including enhancing parliamentary and economic cooperation between Pakistan and the European Union came under discussion.
Asad Qaiser said that Improving Parliamentary Partnership project (I.P5) was great contribution by EU which would help Parliamentarians to better contribute towards parliamentary processes. He also appreciated EU for its previous program I.P3 which turned out to be a success in enhancing capacity of Parliamentarians and the Secretariat.
The Speaker thanked the European Union for the trade concessions given to Pakistan under GSP Plus and said that the concession offered had given a substantial boost to the economy of Pakistan. Referring to the vast opportunities for investment in Pakistan in the economic, industrial, trade and agriculture sectors, the Speaker offered EU investors to join the country’s economic development by investing in Pakistan. He said that economy of Pakistan as agrarian, however due to various handicaps; the potential of agricultural sector could not be realized. He stressed the need for enhancing collaboration in agriculture sector and subsequent value addition.
Asad Qaiser said that Pakistan’s role in the international community is responsible and wants all disputes to be resolved through dialogue and peaceful means. He said that a peaceful Afghanistan would play a positive role for peace and development in Pakistan and the region. He said that Pakistan will continue its support for peace in. He said that parliamentary and trade relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan had witnessed positive developments in recent months. He apprised about the parliamentary initiatives of visa and trade concessions, removing hurdles in trade activities and enhancing people to people contacts.
EU Ambassador to Pakistan Mrs. Androulla Kaminara thanked the Speaker of the National Assembly and said that the EU values its relations with Pakistan. She said that European Union seeks cooperation with Pakistan in various sectors of economy besides social sector development in Pakistan. Referring to the trade between EU and Pakistani, she said that Pakistani products were in demand in EU and steps are being taken to increase the volume of trade with Pakistan. She agreed that EU would support Pakistan in agriculture sector with special emphasis on value chain.
Emphasizing the need to promote parliamentary co-operation, the EU Ambassador said that the EU’s mission in Islamabad would continue to play a role in enhancing parliamentary co-operation. She said that IP5 project was in implementation stage and would help Parliamentarians to enhance their capacity to better respond to their constituents. She was convinced that Pakistan’s contributions towards Afghan peace process would yield excellent results.