Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has urged regional countries to adopt an “Asia-centred” approach and promote intra-regional trade for the prosperity and development of their people.
While speaking at a one-on-one session of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, the premier said regional countries needed to create a macro framework for their direct investments and make corridors for multi-sector investment, particularly in the trade and energy sectors.
During the special session titled “An insight, an idea with PM Raja Ashraf” – which was moderated by China Central Television (CCTV) director Rui Chengang – the prime minister said Pakistan was committed to a secure and prosperous region.
He stated that being located at the hub of South Asia, West Asia and Central Asia, Pakistan can act as an anchor of peace and stability in the region. He also stressed the need for dialogue for resolving conflicts and disputes among regional countries which otherwise would hamper the efforts to attain their desired economic objectives.
“No country can be an island unto itself. We are inter-dependent and should work together,” he said adding that Pakistan earnestly seeks friendly relations with all regional countries including India, Afghanistan, Iran, China and the Central Asian states.
Prime Minister Ashraf assured that Pakistan was making sincere efforts to improve bilateral ties with India by pursuing dialogue on all issues including Kashmir.
Ashraf was of the view that China could play an important role in regional prosperity and Pakistan could learn from “the Chinese experience”.
Responding to a question, he dispelled impressions that Pakistan was drawing close to China in view of the recent tensions with the US in the aftermath of the Abbottabad incursion. He said instead, Pakistan’s relationship with China was time-tested and deeply rooted in history.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2012.
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