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Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. — File Photo by APP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Friday said that Pakistan was very keen to promote commerce and trade relations with Australia.

Talking to the Australian parliamentary delegation led by Senator John Hogg, President of Australian Senate, which called on him at the Prime Minister's House, Raja Pervez Ashraf said that Australia was an important development partner of Pakistan and “we value this relationship.”

“We are thankful for Australia's timely generous assistance for relief against floods”, said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Ashraf informed the visiting delegation that there were great investment opportunities in Pakistan, especially in coal and power generations.

He said that Australia was a choice destination of Pakistani students for higher education. He appreciated the Australian government for providing scholarships for Pakistani students.

Senator Hogg said that the purpose of visit was to learn from the experience of Pakistani parliamentarians in dealing with their constituents in an era of revolutionary changes in Information Technology and social media.

He said that Australians were faced with tyranny of distance as they have to travel long distances to meet people. There is no alternative to face-to-face contacts and to develop personal relations, he said.

He looked forward to the visit of Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari to Australia to return the hospitality extended to them in Pakistan.

Senator Hogg said that Pakistan and Australia enjoyed close relations. Pakistan, he said, had an important role to play in the stability of the region.

He informed the Prime Minister that the visiting delegation would travel to Afghanistan and meet the parliamentarians there as well. He also informed the Prime Minister that the delegation's interaction with the parliamentarians and other sections of society in Pakistan remained fruitful and they got first hand knowledge of ground realities in Pakistan.

The Prime Minister said the exchange of parliamentary delegations would pave the way for further strengthening the relationship between the two countries.

He said that Pakistan was facing the scourge of terrorism and was fighting as a frontline state to eliminate this menace.

The Australian parliamentary delegation included Timothy Speancer Geroge, High Commissioner of Australia, Senator Sean Edwards, Nick Champion, Senator David Johnstaon, Graham Perrett, Jill Hall, Julia Cliffort and Melissa Kelly.

Acting Senate Chairman Sabir Baloch, Minister for National Food Security Mir Israr Ullah Zehari, Senators Haji Muhammad Adeel, Nesreen Jalil and Usman Saifullah Khan assisted the Prime Minister in the meeting.