Pakistan’s stability vital for peace: Miliband

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has offered to supply Pakistan-made ammunitions to coalition forces in Afghanistan, Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced after his meeting with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Saturday.

The British foreign secretary assured his counterpart of UK’s participation in the public and private partnership meeting under the FODP through the private and corporate sector.

Miliband said Britain will support Pakistan’s initiatives in the education sector, and announced that the Pak-UK Taskforce on education will meet on Monday to decide areas of progress and development.

He also said Pakistan’s relations with the European Union are underdeveloped and the UK will play its role in this regard.

Foreign minister Qureshi said Pakistan is passing through a difficult phase and the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) should come forward with solid initiatives.

Foreign Secretary Miliband assured his counterpart that the UK will extend every possible support in improving bilateral trade, rehabilitation of all IDPs and the infrastructure and development of Pakistan.

Qureshi also raised the issue of UK visas and the difficulties faced by the Pakistani community in Pakistan and the UK. He stressed that the UK visa office should be shifted back to Islamabad.

The two ministers agreed on establishing a Pak-UK foundation to bring the people of both countries closer and to enhance existing bilateral and cordial relations.

The ministers also discussed the upcoming London conference on Afghanistan, set to take place on the 28th of this month.

Miliband also called on Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani later at the PM House on Saturday.

Gilani asked the UK government to review its visa policy for Pakistani nationals and remove restrictions on the recruitment of Pakistani doctors.

The prime minister sought UK’s help for making progress on Pakistan-EU Free Trade Agreement, and grant of greater market facilities for Pakistani products to the European markets.

Miliband appreciated Pakistan’s campaign against the Taliban in Malakand and South Waziristan, and called for action against the Taliban groups based in North Waziristan and parts of Balochistan.

He said his country fully supports the economic and infrastructural development in tribal areas of Pakistan.

Talking to the prominent political figures, members of civil society, tribal elders, former diplomats and Foreign Office officials at a dinner in British Club, he reiterated his country’s commitment and said that Britain would help the affectees of terrorist incidents.

He said that deteriorating security environment in NWFP especially in Peshawar is really a point of concern and even the recent events in Karachi were really disturbing.

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