Describing Pakistan’s enemy as his enemy, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday that “Pakistan’s progress is in the interest of the world”.
He made the remark in a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday. The Pakistani premier is visiting the United Kingdom on the invitation of his British counterpart.
Cameron warmly welcomed his Pakistani counterpart and reiterated UK’s all-out support to Islamabad in its pursuit to strengthen its economy and carry out socio-economic development. He also backed the Pakistani government’s efforts to combat terrorism and extremism.
Pakistan is fully committed to eliminating terrorism from its soil, Premier Nawaz reiterated during the meeting.
“Pakistan has suffered a lot due to the menace of terrorism and extremism, and is determined to tackle it,” he told the British premier. “We are fully committed to eliminating terrorism and will never allow the use of Pakistan’s territory against any country, including Afghanistan.”
Premier Nawaz also recalled Cameron’s visit to Pakistan last year. “I am here to reciprocate the sentiments expressed by David Cameron for Pakistan during his visit,” he said.
He also appreciated the continued support and assistance of UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) for Pakistan and said the people of the country were grateful to it.
The two leaders also discussed the current level of bilateral ties in various areas, including trade and economy, and renewed their commitment to further strengthen these relations.
Britain’s Secretary of Defence Philip Hammond also called upon Prime Minister Nawaz to discuss matters pertaining to counter terrorism strategies and defence cooperation. They also exchanged views on the situation in the region following the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. Premier Nawaz shared Pakistan’s stance on Afghanistan, particularly following the presidential elections in the country, with Hammond as well.
The prime minister is scheduled to meet UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Home Minister Theresa May along with Peter Sands, the Group CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, today (Thursday).
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2014.