ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday said that Pakistan had been paying the heaviest price in the war against terrorism and it was determined to pursue the struggle till its logical conclusion.
“Our sacrifices exceed any other nation,” the President said added that Pakistan deserved and expected recognition by the international community.
The President said this during a meeting with Shadow Foreign Secretary of United Kingdom Douglas Alexander here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.
Douglas Alexander was accompanied by UK High Commissioner Adam Thomson, Senior Advisor Tom Price and Jasper Thornton.
Pakistan side included Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Secretary General to the President M Salman Faruqui, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar.
Briefing about the meeting, the Spokesperson to the President said that Pak-UK Enhanced Strategic Dialogue, war against militants, recent floods, UK assistance and regional situation was discussed during the meeting.
The President termed the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD) of the two countries as a milestone in bilateral relationship that aimed at intensifying mutual interactions in the realm of security, trade, health and other sectors, including education.
He said that enhanced and regular interactions as envisaged by the dialogue would help maintain momentum in the relationship and in convergence of point of views on important issues concerning the two states.
The President also stressed the need for further enhancing economic cooperation.
He said that Pakistan was passing through one of the difficult phases when its economy was under great stress due to a recent jolt to it by yet another devastating floods.
An economy already bearing the brunt of war and last year's natural calamity has once again been hit by rains and floods where around 8 million people have been affected, he added.
The President said that Pakistan looked forward to continued international support in trade and enhanced market access for its products in the European Union.
He also appreciated UK's support at the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) platform.
He reiterated that poverty, lack of opportunities and sense of deprivation were among the main causes that contribute towards militant mindset.
He said that in order to find a permanent solution to these problems the international community needed to assist all those who were struggling to overcome these root causes that breed militant mindset.
The President said that a nation, which had been worst hit by the scourge of militancy and militant mindset, expected recognition of its countless sacrifices, both in human and material terms.
“All we ask from the international community is to facilitate our trade and help us creating economic opportunities for the youth and wean them away from militants,” he said.
The President said that Pakistan wished to have friendly and peaceful relations with all the countries based on equality and mutual respect.
He said that Pakistan would continue with its efforts to support every development that contributed towards peace, prosperity and stability of the region.
Douglas Alexander expressed sympathies over the devastation caused by the recent floods.
He said there was general appreciation for the sacrifices made by the people of Pakistan in the ongoing war against terror and hoped that the international community would assist the Government of Pakistan in the capacity building of its institutions as well as in exploring trade opportunities and better access to the market for its products.