PM confident Pak-UK ESD to deepen mutually beneficial engagement

ISLAMABAD, May 25 (APP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday expressed confidence that the Pakistan-UK Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD) would help deepen bilateral engagement between the two sides in a range of mutually beneficial areas.

Talking to UK Minister for Armed Forces James Heappey, the prime minister emphasized that Pakistan and the UK enjoyed a long-standing partnership that was grounded in historic connections and abiding people-to-people linkages.

The prime minister expressed the desire to further enhance trade and investment ties between the two countries.

Noting that the two countries would be marking the 75th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations this year, PM Sharif hoped that the occasion would be commemorated in a befitting manner and provide new impetus to further advancing Pakistan-UK cooperation in the years ahead.

The prime minister also stressed the importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, while highlighting the importance and urgency of taking necessary steps to avert a humanitarian crisis in that country.

He underscored that the well-being of 40 million Afghans should be a key priority.

On Ukraine, the prime minister spoke of his concern that the ongoing conflict had implications for the developing countries as well, while reaffirming Pakistan’s principled position on the issue.

He urged the international community to remain engaged in the search for a diplomatic solution, in accordance with the relevant international law and the UN Charter.

The prime minister also highlighted the serious situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

Underlining Pakistan’s commitment to promoting peace in the region, including with India, he stressed the importance of a peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

He also underscored the importance of maintaining a stable military balance in South Asia.

The visiting UK Minister reciprocated the Prime Minister’s sentiments to further augment the historic relationship between the two countries, especially in the trade and investment sectors.

He also conveyed his government’s deep appreciation for Pakistan’s cooperation with the UK, particularly with regard to evacuations in the aftermath of developments in Afghanistan post 15 August 2021.