Wars no solution to Pak-India issues: PM


Shehbaz Sharif addresses Pakistan Minerals Summit n Without naming India, PM says ready to talk to neighbour on serious issues n Pakistan, Barrick Gold agree to pay share in Pakistani rupees in Reko Diq project n COAS calls for playing collective role in Pakistan’s economy n General Syed Asim Munir invites foreign investors to discover country’s hidden treasures n Says SIFC to ensure 'ease of doing business' for domestic, foreign investors.

Those responsible for terrorist attacks will be brought to justice as soon as possible, says PM Shehbaz.

If the nation has profound commitment, then the sky is the limit and its vastness awaits us: COAS.

ISLAMABAD  -  Prime Minister Shehbaz Shar­if Tuesday stressed the need to learn from the bitter experienc­es of past 75 years and move ahead with strenuous efforts, collaboration and dedication by exploring the untapped re­sources including the vast nat­ural minerals and reserves and developing the agriculture, in­formation technology and in­dustrial sectors.

Addressing a 'Pakistan Min­erals Summit’, the prime minis­ter referred to keynote address­es of various speakers and said if these suggestions and proposals were translated into letter and spirit, he was convinced that the nation would find its lost place in the next few years through hard work and untiring efforts.

The PM regretted that the country’s journey of 75 years was dotted with bitter factors as they could not fully exploit the precious natural deposits esti­mated at worth $6 trillion. 

“The day gives an opportuni­ty to self-contemplation over a journey of last 75 years and the reasons due to which Pakistan landed into this situation with a begging bowl,” he added.

Elaborating his viewpoint, he said with Russian support, Paki­stan Steel Mills was established during the 70s while in Reko Diq a hefty penalty of $10 billion was imposed on Pakistan and had it been enforced, the entire coun­try’s foreign reserves would have been depleted.

The prime minister referred to the ‘Thar’ coal mines reserves and said these were being con­verted for the development of Pakistan. Due to the working of certain cartels, he said the natural resources were not explored in the past and cited that financial and political rea­sons were also involved in the delay which required deep in­trospection.

The prime minister said the Chinot iron ores field be­longed to the poor people of Pakistan, but it also showed another worst example of cor­ruption. He said without any bidding, it was handed over to an overseas Pakistani who had no business history, but when the matter was taken up by the subsequent government and landed in a court of law, it termed the entire matter as a manifestation of loot and plun­der. But later, he said, nothing happened as NAB could not arrest those who had been ac­cused of plunder, adding that it was a heart-wrenching story. The summit was attended by federal ministers, foreign del­egates, ambassadors, Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir, experts, relevant au­thorities, and investors.

The prime minister fur­ther regretted that the previ­ous governments should have dedicated themselves to the welfare of the poor people of Pakistan. He also praised the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the finan­cial support worth 2 billion dollars which also helped in reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia always stood together through thick and thin and supported each oth­er at every forum. The prime minister said that NAB, un­fortunately, created fears and harassed the business com­munity and bureaucrats in the past as it was used as a tool for witch-hunting of political op­ponents. He said the present government focused on build­ing a strong nation. He reiter­ated that Pakistan was keen to maintain friendly ties with all the countries for the mutual benefit of their people.

Without naming India, he maintained that they were ready to talk to their neigh­bors, if there were serious matters on the table as wars were no solution to issues. The prime minister said three wars were imposed on Paki­stan in the last 75 years and said these had generated more poverty and lack of resourc­es which otherwise, had been spent on the development and prosperity of their people.

“The neigbours have to un­derstand that unless abnor­malities are removed, normal­cy cannot take place and the serious issues should be ad­dressed through serious dis­cussions,” he emphasised. The prime minister said that the incumbent government would complete its term in the cur­rent month. The society had been bitterly divided, he said, adding unless they show uni­ty and discipline, they could not succeed in their efforts, he added. The prime minis­ter said the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) was set up for the first time in the country including all the stake­holders that would collaborate and facilitate the execution of the development projects.

On the occasions, different speakers including foreign del­egates also spoke on the occa­sion and highlighted the need for exploration of the natural resources of Pakistan by utilis­ing the latest technologies and offered different suggestions and proposals for facilitation to lure foreign investments.

‘Reko Diq project to prove a game changer’ Prime Min­ister Shehbaz Sharif on Tues­day said that Reko Diq proj­ect would prove to be a game changer for the development of Balochistan and region be­sides ushering a new era of progress and prosperity. 

The prime minister, talking to a delegation of Barrick Gold led by CEO Mark Bristow which called on him, said Pa­kistan was rich with immense resources of minerals. The government was taking mea­sures on priority to take maxi­mum advantage of the said re­sources, he added. 

According to a PM Office statement, the Barrick Gold agreed to make the payment of Pakistan’s share of investment in Pakistani rupees. The prime minister said the participation of Barrick Gold and other in­ternational firms in Pakistan Mineral Summit held earlier on the day manifested the re­vival of investors’ confidence in Pakistan. This revival of the investors’ confidence includ­ing that of Barrick Gold in Pa­kistan was made possible con­sequent to the formation of Special Investment Facilitation Council. In the meeting, Mark Bristow apprised the prime minister of progress in the ongoing development works in Reko Diq. Prime Minister Shehbaz said that the Reko Diq project agreement would prove to be beneficial for both the parties. He instructed all the relevant institutions to ful­fill their responsibilities re­garding the execution of Reko Diq project. The meeting was told that a Community Devel­opment Committee had been formed in the Reko Diq which identified actions for uplift of Balochistan and its people. 

It was told that the local el­ders in the committee identi­fied the projects aimed at the prosperity of the people of Balochistan. Under the proj­ect, the skilled local people were being provided employ­ment opportunities and a huge amount would be spent on de­velopment of the area. 

Minister of State for Petro­leum Musaddik Malik and spe­cial assistants to PM Jahanzeb Khan and Tariq Bajwa, and rel­evant senior officers attend­ed the meeting. ‘Involvement of Afghan citizens in suicide blasts’ Prime Minister Sheh­baz Sharif has urged the In­terim Afghan government to undertake concrete measures towards denying its soil to be used for transnational terror­ism. He was speaking during his visit to Peshawar along with Chief of Army Staff Gen­eral Syed Asim Munir.

The prime minister noted with concern the involvement of the Afghan citizens in the suicide blasts and liberty of ac­tion available to the elements hostile to Pakistan in planning and executing such cowardly attacks on innocent civilians from the sanctuaries across the border. Shehbaz Sharif also appreciated the emergency ef­forts undertaken by the Army in the evacuation of wounded personnel from Khar to Pesha­war, saving many lives.

On the occasion, the Prime Minister was briefed on the overall security situation in the province with focus on the Khar Suicide Blast, status of investigations under pro­cess and counter terrorism ef­forts being undertaken to dis­mantle the terrorists’ network by disrupting the linkages be­tween planners, executioners, and abettors. The Prime Min­ister and the Army Chief also visited the wounded person­nel under treatment at Com­bined Military Hospital (CMH) in Peshawar and inquired af­ter their health. The Prime Minister instructed the con­cerned authorities to render best possible healthcare ser­vices to the wounded patients until their full recovery.

While interacting with the bereaved family members of the victims of Khar Suicide Blast, the prime minister as­sured them that the entire na­tion stands with them in this hour of grief and shares the burden of their losses. He said these cowardly attacks by ter­rorists cannot weaken our re­solve to eradicate the menace of terrorism from Pakistan. Se­curity Forces and law enforce­ment agencies with the sup­port of the nation will ensure that those responsible for the dastardly attacks are brought to justice as soon as possible. 

Earlier on arrival, the Prime Minister and the Army Chief were received by Command­er Peshawar Corps. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir said Tuesday that the Pakistan government along with state institutions had ensured the establish­ment of Special Investment Fa­cilitation Council (SIFC) in or­der to bring the stakeholders at one platform. Addressing the Pakistan Mineral Summit, he said it had laid down new rules for ‘ease of doing busi­ness’ for domestic and foreign investors in the country. “We will ensure an investor-friend­ly system that avoids unneces­sary delays and provides easy terms and conditions for busi­ness. There are vast mining opportunities in our country which will be realised through joint efforts,” he added.

General Syed Asim Munir thanked the foreign delegates and investors for participat­ing in the moot, which was the first such event in the country. He also thanked Barrick Gold Corporation CEO and Presi­dent Mark Bristow and Sau­di Mining Minister Engineer Khalid bin Saleh Al Madifar and other investors.

He stressed persistence for staying on the path of peace and prosperity and said the mineral-related projects were the stepping stone, which would eventually lead towards the development of the mass­es. Referring to natural re­sources of the country, he said: “Just look at your country, from the snow-capped moun­tains to the vastness of the des­erts, from the coastline to the plains. What else is not there in this land?” He said: “In Surah Rahman, Allah the Exalted has said: And which of the favours of your Lord will you deny?” The Army Chief noted: “If the nation has profound commit­ment, then the sky is the lim­it and its vastness awaits us.” He specifically referred to the Holy Qur’an: “Allah helps those who help themselves”. He also read Allama Iqbal’s poem that underlined the need for an in­dividual to remain steadfast in hard times and strength­en its faith in Allah Almighty to achieve his or her destina­tion. “It is our social responsi­bility to play our collective role in the country’s economy. We must never lose hope. Our land is endowed with many miner­als and to fully utilise this po­tential, we invite foreign in­vestors to play their role in discovering the hidden trea­sures of Pakistan,” he said.

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