ISLAMABAD, Mar 15 (APP):Finance Minister, Asad Umar Friday once again extended the hand of friendship towards India to promote peace with a constructive objective to make the South Asian region the driver of global growth over the 21st Century.
“There is almost 40% of the global population which resides in China and South Asia. The economic dynamism is going to start in this area and I think this particular area can drive global growth for entire world over the 21st century,” Asad Umar said while addressing the Graduation Ceremony of the 27th Advanced Diplomatic Course for Foreign Diplomats.
“We keep on extending hand of friendship and look forward towards the South Asia to become the center for global economic growth,” he added.
Prime Minister of Pakistan, in his first speech, had said that if India takes one step, we would take two, the minister said adding, “we stay committed to that and our hand for friendship is still extended towards India.”
Asad said that Pakistan was committed to improve relationship not only with India but with the whole region as was reflected by recent policies of the government.
He said that Pakistan wanted improved relationship with Iran, which had been facing global isolation, and it would become part of the process that ends this isolation.
Pakistan also wanted return of peace to Afghanistan, which had witnessed unrest for decades as it was invaded by two global super powers, he added.
He said that Pakistan’s incumbent Prime Minister had always supported peace initiatives, expressing the hope that the current constructive dialogue between Taliban and America would be result-oriented adding Pakistan would play its due role in making the peace dialogue a success.
The minister said that Pakistan wanted to improve its trading relationships with various countries and was in process of implementing a grand, long term economic partnership in the form of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which strengthen economic relationship of Pakistan had with China.
He said that Pakistan had started developing Strategic Economic Framework with Turkey and the drafts of the frameworks had been exchanged between the two countries. “We have just set up a Strategic Relationship Council with Saudi Arabia” he said.
Pakistan due to historical positioning is important part of Silk Route and that would make it pivot around this new structure. He said that the geographic liability would be transformed into geographic dividend and the government was working towards peace and prosperity of the whole region.
The minister said that Pakistan would continue to be on guard till Indian elections were held because it was assessed that Balakot and thereafter was directly linked to domestic Indian politics.
He said, Pakistan had demonstrated both the capacity and the will to defend ourselves. “Whenever need be, it doesn’t take much time for the hand of friendship to be converted into a fist,” the minister added.
The minister said that earlier travelling to Pakistan was not an easy thing and now there were people from different countries visiting Pakistan as the reality had changed now.
He said that Pakistan was having sacred place for different religions including Hinduism, Sikhism, Budhism and Islam.
He expressed the hope that the participants of the workshop would share their knowledge gained here and spread the message of peace, increased economic integration, tolerance and cultural diversity to make the world better place to live.
Director General, Foreign Services Academy also spoke on the occasion, highlighting various initiatives of the academy and its courses, while among others, Foreign Secretary, Tehmina Janjua was also present on the occasion.