ISLAMABAD: Japan will provide 479 million dollars soft loan to Pakistan to develop irrigation system, laying of electric transmission lines, establishment of Grid Stations and improvement of road network. An agreement to this effect was signed by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Japanese counterpart Mr. Masahiko Koumura in Islamabad on Saturday.
Addressing a joint press conference, Shah Mehmood Qureshi thanked the Minister for his country’s support to Pakistan. He said both side discussed a variety of issues concerning to bilateral trade, Japanese assistance and cooperation on counter terrorism. He said Japan has been assisting in improving education and health system in tribal areas. It will help to set up new schools and medical facilities.
Shah Mehmood Quresh pointed out that their bilateral relations are moving from strength to strength. He said Japan as the chair in G-8 Group should extend help to Pakistan’s development needs particularly in Pak-Afghan border area. He said during the talks with his Japanese counterpart he informed him about Pakistan’s new government multi-prong strategy to deal with terrorism.
He said the new government is well aware of its responsibility to peace and security of this region and we feel that extremists and terrorists are a small minority close to Pakistan-Afghan border has been engaging in activities which disturbs peace and tranquility of not just Pakistan but are threatening other areas as well. To a question, Shash Mehmood Qureshi said the government is committed to counter terrorism.
He said we will engage with peace loving tribal people and the government feels that the overwhelming majority of people living close to the border and in the tribal areas are peaceful people, they want a economic promotion, economic activity, they need jobs and need poverty alleviation.
He said government will develop tribal areas and at the same time through the provision of strength and our military presence in the tribal areas we will take on the terrorist elements. He made it clear that there will be no negotiations and compromise with terrorists. He said as elected representatives of Pakistan we feel that the war is not a foreign war and we have to protect the economic interest of Pakistan.
He said both Pakistan and Japan have strong cooperation to counter terrorism. He said Japan has been assisting Pakistan Navy which is part of international fleet to guard against terrorism at high seas. Shah Mehmood Qureshi said both sides discussed and feel that there is great room for more investment in Pakistan.
He said bilateral trade between the two countries is touching about two billion dollars which would be enhanced. He invited Japanese investors to invest in Pakistan and generate more economic activities, growth and economic cooperation. He also sought Japanese modern technology faculties to be set up in Pakistan’s Universities.
On this occasion, Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura said Japan attaches great importance to the long-standing friendship with Pakistan. He said Japan also believes the stability and development of Pakistan is directly linked to the peace and stability of the Asian region as well as that of the international community as a whole. He said Japan supports Pakistan which has strengthened its democracy and its renewed efforts to further its stability and development.
To a question, Mr. Masahiko Koumura said Japan also believes that fighting terrorism, consolidating democracy, and achieving sustainable economic growth are ever more important. He said Japan recognizes the serious efforts by the Pakistani government in fighting terrorism in the face of many of its people having fallen victims to terrorism. Japan and the international community remain confident that Pakistan will continue to make concerted efforts to tackle these challenges. He said Japan remains committed to provide its utmost support to Pakistan’s efforts. To a question, he said Japan as chair of G/8 Group will persuade the international community to assist Pakistan in the field of economy and other areas.