LONDON - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said government, media and armed forces will have to lend a helping hand towards each other to steer the country out of crises.
Talking to media persons he said government along with armed forces and media will solve all the problems faced by the country.
The prime minister while talking to British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who called on him here Thursday, said his government was committed to enhancing the welfare and security of its people by reviving the economy, overcoming energy shortage, eradicating extremism and promoting human rights and good governance.
He is currently in London on an official visit to review and further strengthen the strategic relations between the two countries. Premier Nawaz Sharif appreciated UK’s strong support for grant of GSP Plus status to Pakistan by the European Union (EU) and continued development assistance provided through Department for International Development (DFID), particularly in health and education sectors.
Speaking about his government’s priorities, the prime minister said his government was committed to enhancing the welfare and security of its people by reviving the economy, overcoming energy shortage, eradicating extremism and promoting human rights and good governance.
Secretary Hague appreciated the economic reforms agenda of the government and offered UK’s assistance and cooperation in its implementation.
He also offered support to Pakistan in meeting its obligations under the GSP Plus regime. The post-election situation in Afghanistan, including security environment in the post-2014 withdrawal scenario, was also discussed.
Secretary Hague welcomed Pakistan government’s efforts to establish cordial and cooperative relations with India.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik, Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and acting High Commissioner Mohammad Imran Mirza also attended the meeting.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and British High Commissioner for Pakistan Philip Barton accompanied Secretary Hague.
After the meeting, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Foreign Secretary Hague and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the presence of the prime minister on the status and operations of the British Council in Pakistan.
The MoU manifests the desire of the two countries to further develop and strengthen the ties of friendship in educational, scientific, technical and cultural matters.
Separately, the prime minister, talking to British Home Secretary Theresa May who called on him on Thursday, lauded the British government’s ongoing cooperation and assistance to Pakistan in spheres of security and counter-terrorism.
He reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to fight extremism and militancy, and pointed out the unprecedented sacrifices rendered by the country in terms of human lives and economic losses.
He updated Secretary May on the National Internal Security Policy (NISP) and the dialogue process with the Taliban.
The prime minister shared his government’s plans to improve the working of counter-terrorism organisations at the federal level and creation of similar organisations at the provincial level.
He also underlined the need for enhanced cooperation between the two countries in all spheres.
The home secretary said the British government recognised Pakistan’s commitment and sacrifices in the global war on terror. She said the United Kingdom would extend all possible help to strengthen Pakistan’s capacity in dealing with extremism and terrorism.
Both sides expressed their resolve to continue benefiting from each other’s expertise in relevant areas.
Meanwhile, speaking at a luncheon hosted by head of the Standard Chartered Bank Peter Sands in London Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan’s economy was turning around due to dynamic policies introduced by his government over the last year.
The prime minister said Pakistan is a vibrant and progressive country and the government is giving top priority to bring economic stability by overcoming the energy crisis in shortest possible time.
He said overwhelming international response to Pakistan’s Euro bond shows the confidence of international investors in Pakistan’s economic policies.
The prime minister said fiscal deficit and inflation are gradually decreasing while industrial production is showing positive trends. He said private banks in Pakistan have now substantial fiscal space to provide loans to the private sector.
He said budget deficit has decreased from 8.8 percent to six percent of the GDP.
Nawaz hoped the government would soon get six percent GDP growth rate.
He said the Standard Chartered Bank can flourish its business in Pakistan with efficient business community and attractive investment opportunities.
Head of the Bank Peter Sands said their bank plans to open more branches in Pakistan to boost its business.
The prime minister said that year 2013 was very important in Pakistan’s history. He said in this year peaceful and transparent elections were held in the country wherein people of Pakistan gave mandate to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). He said in 2013 PPP bade adieu to government in a democratic way. He added that PML-N government, soon after coming into power, set its goals with ending energy crisis and revival of economy as top priorities.
The prime minister also met with British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and discussed with him matter of mutual interests and cooperation between the two countries.