Pakistan committed to peace in region: Ahsan Iqbal

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ISLAMABAD, Sep 18 (APP): Minister for Interior Prof Ahsan
Iqbal Monday said Pakistan was committed to peace in the region and
would not allow anybody to use its soil for terrorism.
Speaking to media persons here after attending a ceremony of Asia
Peace Festival organised by Pakistan National Council of Arts
(PNCA), he said, “Pakistan does not want that its land is used
against any other country, or any other country uses its land
against Pakistan.”
To a question, he said the government was working in
coordination with the Afghan government to promote regional peace.
In certain cases, he said condemned prisoners in jails were
used to defame Pakistan.
The minister said Pakistan would lodge protest and use
diplomatic sources, if others committed terrorism against it.
He said only a strong economy would ensure a strong defence
for Pakistan.
Development and improved standard of living was not possible
without peace, stability and harmony, Ahsan said adding the world
had entered the information age and countries were competing for
economic ascendancy.
“If there is a conflict, then the development process gets
stalled in the country.”
He said Pakistan had defeated terrorism and now its economy,
sports activities and tourism were being revived.
To a question, the minister said the bye-elections in NA-120
in Lahore was a victory for democracy.
People voted for the agenda of development and not for those
who wanted to create chaos in the country, he stressed.
“In the past, the country was facing 20 hour long electricity
shortages. Now electricity is available 20 hours a day.”
He said people expressed confidence in the leadership of
Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
The minister said PMLN had reservations about the way
elections were held in Lahore, adding he had sought report from the
institutions about the kidnapping of PMLN workers by anti-democratic
forces.
He congratulated the Pakistan Council of the Arts and
organisers of Asian Film Festival for arranging a film festival in
which thousands of films were presented for screening by film makers
of 30 countries.
The minister said Pakistan was on a path of recovery, contrary
to 2013, when Newsweek declared Pakistan as one of the most
dangerous counties, but now there was renewed optimism and energy.
“Pakistan is a peaceful and hospitable country,” he told the
audience comprising foreign delegates amid applause.
He said as a developing country, Pakistan needed to harness
its human and natural resources.
Pakistan needed to make speedy progress by avoiding conflict
and confrontation and by enhancing cooperation, he added.
He said the government would be giving a tax relief package to
filmmakers to promote the local film industry.
He said Pakistan would now be a new destination for film
makers. Actors and film makers were the agents of change, he
remarked.
He said the festival would bring people of Asia together and
would lead to new platforms to expand regional connectivity and
cooperation.
He said the future belonged to those who blended science with
arts and focused on innovation and creativity.
Director General PNCA Jamal Shah highlighted the prominent
features of the Film Festival.