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UK, Pakistan need to work hand in hand to cope with shared challenges: Nisar

ISLAMABAD, MAR 08 (DNA) -Interior Minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan has said that UK and Pakistan need to work hand in hand for promoting peace, overcoming shared challenges and forging a robust partnership in the area of counter-terrorism, organized crimes and against those who put the peace of the region at stake.This he said while talking to British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs Philip Hammond here at Punjab House Tuesday.

He said that by virtue of trust and confidence traditionally enjoyed by United Kingdom among the people of the region, UK is equipped to play a leading role towards socio-economic development, ensuring long lasting peace and promoting reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

The meeting of the two leaders, comprising of two rounds, discussed a whole gamut of Pak-UK bilateral relationship and mutual cooperation especially focusing on counter-terrorism cooperation, combating organized crime, the issue of illegal immigrants and overall situation of the region.

Discussing Pak-UK bilateral relations, the Interior Minister observed that Pakistan greatly values its friendly relations with UK and appreciates the assistance that UK has provided to the country in overcoming challenges. He said that there is need to further strengthen our existing cooperation especially in fighting the menace of terrorism and combating organized crimes.

The Interior Minister said that Pakistan does not look for pounds and pennies but desires to have a long term partnership of institutionalized assistance in terms of sharing of expertise, training and capacity building of its institutions.

He also reiterated that Islam should not be equated with militancy by the West. The Minister said that UK has always reached out to Muslim community to reassure them that mainstream Islam has nothing to do with militancy and terrorism. He said that Islam emphasizes on peace and harmony with all communities and militants do not, in any manner, represent true Islam.

Talking about ongoing fight against militants, the Minister said that Operation Zarb-e-Azb is a manifestation of our sincere efforts to completely eradicate this menace from our soil and we look forward towards international community especially towards our friends like UK to strengthen our capacity to fight militancy.

The Minister said that Operation Zarb-e-Azb promises our country and our coming generations a new era free from the threats of violence and insecurity.

The Minister said that the efforts of our armed forces and law enforcing agencies under Zarb-e-Azb have resulted in significant successes however the baggage of decades requires continued efforts with commitment and sincerity of purpose.

British Foreign Secretary while appreciating countless sacrifices of the country and the people assured continued assistance to the country and its people in their fight against militancy. He also agreed to the observation of the Interior Minister for the need to make greater and conscious efforts not to let non-state actors hijack foreign policy and dictate their terms to the sovereign states.

There was unanimity of views between the two leaders that long lasting and sustained peace was essential for the overall socio-economic development in the region. Mutual trade and greater economic activities in the region hold the key to ensuring and providing solid foundations to the lasting peace in the region.

Discussing regional situation, the Interior Minister reiterated that Pakistan would continue making every possible effort for promoting peace and re-conciliatory process in neighboring Afghanistan. =DNA

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