Pakistan, Germany discuss ties, business, regional security

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan and Germany on Tuesday discussed relations, business cooperation and regional security as well as efforts for peace in Afghanistan.

These key topics were examined by the visiting German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, with his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmoud Qureshi.

Addressing a joint press conference after the meeting, Qureshi highlighted anti-terrorism measures taken by Pakistan in accordance with the National Action Plan (NAP), formulated following the “horrific massacre” at an Army Public School (APS), Peshawar, in 2014.

He was alluding to a deadly attack when seven heavily armed Taliban fighters stormed an army-run primary and secondary school in Peshawar, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014, killing 150 people, of whom at least 134 were students.

Qureshi said, “Obviously, fighting terrorism is a global challenge, a regional challenge and Pakistan has taken a lot of steps in that direction.” “I shared with the [German] foreign minister the evolution of the National Action Plan. The horrific, tragic incident of the Army Public School in Peshawar was a watershed [moment] in our thinking,” he added.

Pakistan’s 20-point NAP is a strategy designed to clamp down mercilessly on terrorists and terrorism, stipulating in part death sentence against convicted terrorists, prohibiting terrorism-inciting or encouraging rhetoric and drying up financial resource of the scourge.

Referring to the potential of economic and trade relations between Pakistan and Germany, Qureshi said that two well renowned German companies have expressed interest for investment in the country.

Qureshi expressed “confidence” that this would encourage others to come and invest in Pakistan.

He also proposed a joint foreign trade chamber to his German counterpart, saying this would be a very positive step towards enhancing bilateral economic and trade relations between the two countries.

Qureshi briefed his guest about the tense relations with neighboring India in the wake of the Pulwama attack in Indian administered Kashmir, last month, in which 40 Indian soldiers were killed.

He pointed out that despite “India’s aggression,” Islamabad had released the Indian Air Force pilot two days after he was captured by the Pakistan Air Force. He has reiterated that Pakistan wants peace in the region.

The German Foreign Minister has expressed concern over the recent tension between Pakistan and India and urged the two countries to resolve their issues through negotiations.

Minister Maas appreciated the speedy release of the Indian pilot and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer of dialogue to India, saying that these steps helped de-escalate the tension.

The German official further said that he had a meeting with the Indian foreign minister as well, where he had stressed the need for a peaceful solution to the Kashmir dispute. He appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for elimination of terrorism.

He particularly lauded Islamabad’s role in restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan.

He said that Germany has good relations with Pakistan and it wants to promote cooperation with the country in trade and other sectors.

The two foreign ministers also discussed matters pertaining to the German visa facilitation for Pakistani students of higher education. The two sides discussed the idea of ‘partnership schools’ in order to partner in the field of education.

Minister Maas arrived in federal capital Islamabad, earlier on Tuesday, along with a delegation to discuss regional peace, security and Afghanistan.

Source: Kuwait News Agency