Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (R) listens to German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle during a meeting at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad. -AFP Photo
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Saturday categorically said that the drone attacks must stop as they were violating the country's sovereignty and international laws.
“Drone attacks must stop. We have protested many a time. This is simply unacceptable,” he commented in a meeting with German Foreign Minister Dr Guldo Westerwelle who called on the prime minister along with a six-member delegation at the Prime Minister's House.
During the meeting, the German Foreign Minister discussed with Sharif bilateral relations as well as the prevailing regional situation.
He conveyed his best wishes and on behalf of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the prime minister.
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan regarded Germany as a close friend and as the prime minister it would be his endeavor to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.
He hoped that Pakistan would benefit from the technological advancement and economic development of Germany.
Power shortages and business investment
Dilating on the acute power shortage in the country, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said his government was working on a plan to overcome load shedding.
He invited the German investors to exploit this opportunity by investing in Pakistan's power sector.
He said Pakistan welcomed that German investors set up thermal power plants which could be run on coal and gas and offered to facilitate the setting up of their plants near coal mines in Pakistan.
The prime minister expressed hope that German investors should visit Pakistan to see the business climate and opportunities that Pakistan had to offer.
The German foreign minister informed the prime minister that his country's government was keen to send a business delegation to Pakistan and the German Ambassador in Pakistan would be facilitating the visit of this delegation comprising 60 German businessmen, which would be visiting Pakistan shortly.
Dr Westerwelle proposed that joint investment conference be held in Pakistan in which German and Pakistani investors should participate and share their knowledge and explore the prospects of investment in Pakistan.
He said Germany considered Pakistan as a country with great economic potential and proposed that the bilateral Chamber of Commerce presently functioning in Karachi be reactivated and upgraded to give further impetus to economic ties between the two countries.
The German foreign minister also assured Germany's continued support for Pakistan's efforts to get GSP Plus status in the European Union.
The prime minister thanked Westerwelle for the initiatives taken by Germany for deepening of Pak-German relations.
“There is a positive sentiment in the Pakistani business community which looks towards my government for good economic policies and encouraging the business sector,” the Prime Minister observed.
Recalling his previous tenures as the prime minister, he listed privatisation of banks and major industries in the public sector as factors which restored confidence of the business community.
As a result of economic reforms carried out by his government in the 1990s, the growth rate of Pakistan had reached seven per cent, he recalled.
Nawaz Sharif said, “We have a tough situation at hand but we have the team and the determination to turn around the economy”.
The German foreign minister apprised the prime minister that he was coming from Kabul where he had meetings with President Karzai.
He conveyed the good wishes of Karzai and sought assessment of the regional situation.
The prime minister said President Karzai had phoned to congratulate him on his assumption of the office of the prime minister and also extended an invitation to visit Afghanistan.
Nawaz Sharif said that he had the opportunity of meeting President Karzai as leader of the opposition during the last few years.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan wanted to expand cooperation with Afghanistan and support the Afghan nation.
He said that there had to be a multi-pronged policy to tackle the situation in Afghanistan.
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan was ready to facilitate the withdrawal of coalition troops from Afghanistan and hoped that the Afghan army and security forces would be able to manage the situation after the withdrawal of coalition troops from the country.