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Sunday, April 14, 2024  
05 Shawwal 1445  

Pakistan wants to further boost ties with Russia: PM Shehbaz

Russian envoy says Moscow keen to enhance cooperation in education and culture
Russian Ambassador Albert P Khorev calls on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad on March 30, 2024. PID
Russian Ambassador Albert P Khorev calls on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad on March 30, 2024. PID

Pakistan wanted to enhance cooperation with Russia in several areas, particularly in energy, trade and investment, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Saturday.

He said this during a meeting with Russian Ambassador Albert P Khorev who called on him in Islamabad, the PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.

The prime minister expressed deep condolences on the loss of lives in the Crocus City Hall attack outside Moscow last week, saying that Pakistan stood in solidarity with Russia at this tragic hour.

PM Shehbaz stressed the need for early convening of the ninth session of the Inter-governmental Commission, due to be hosted by Russia later this year. He also urged the Russian side to send a delegation to Pakistan to hold discussions with their counterparts to identify ways to enhance the existing level of trade and investment ties between the two countries.

While recalling their meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Samarkand in 2022, the prime minister reiterated his invitation to President Vladimir Putin to undertake an official visit to Pakistan at his earliest convenience.

He also thanked the Russian president for the congratulatory message sent to him on his re-election.

At the meeting, the ambassador assured the prime minister that Russia wanted to build stronger ties with Pakistan. In addition to energy, trade and investment, he said that Russia was also keen to enhance cooperation in education and culture. Both countries are also actively involved in SCO.

“The parties thoroughly discussed political, trade and economic aspects of bilateral cooperation, and exchanged views on international and regional agenda,” a statement available on the Russian embassy website said.

Five-year roadmap targets

PM Shehbaz has urged his cabinet members to “immediately” commence work towards achieving the targets set in a five-year roadmap as shared with all the relevant ministries.

Addressing a cabinet meeting, he said that he had shared broad parameters of the five-year plan with the relevant ministries by setting various targets to be achieved.

Under the parameters, he said the ministries concerned should evolve mechanisms, hire human resources and formulate strategies to meet the set targets.

“Responsibility with accountability will be the hallmark of the five-year roadmap as no system in the world can progress without it,” he opined.

For this purpose, the premier said that all the available resources and tools should be explored, those not available be procured.

He went on to add that a forum like the Special Investment Facilitation Council was available to overcome delays and red tape. The relevant rules should also be followed for the hiring of global consultants, the premier said.

He stressed the need for utilisation of the country’s talented human resources for achieving the targets and urged the ministries to adopt innovative tools and thinking, besides, reducing the file work burden.

“We have a five-year term to transform the economic situation of the country, but for that purpose, we have to commence our respective work immediately,” he emphasised.

To achieve self-sufficiency, the prime minister said that they had to reduce the burden of foreign debts, increase GDP, create jobs, develop agriculture and IT sectors, bring reforms in the energy sector and end smuggling.

When the wheel of economy moved on, he said the country would achieve progress. For economic stability, he said they have to take the required initiatives themselves.

The prime minister said that the FBR digitisation plan was under way. About Rs27 billion were stuck in the appellate courts and for expeditious disposal of these cases, they would bring competent judges with enhanced incentives, he added.

He said the chief justice of Pakistan, during a recent meeting with him, had also assured of complete support in this regard.

The prime minister noted that efforts should be made to reduce the official expenditures. He said achieving a $25 billion IT export target was “not unfeasible”.

PM Shehbaz also appreciated the interim government for recovering Rs58 billion rupees in the power sector and said that “for the first time in the country’s history, such a target was achieved in the shortest term.”

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The prime minister also vowed to provide all possible resources for the defence of the country, adding that “martyred officers and personnel of the armed forces and security forces were the heroes of the nation.”

On 26 March, he said that an unfortunate horrifying incident occurred in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bisham in which five Chinese and one local were killed.

“The enemies of Pakistan did not want that Pak-China friendship should progress,” he said and added that bilateral cooperation between the two countries in different fields was “exemplary”.

The prime minister said that the government stood with the Chinese government and the people over the tragic incident. He recounted that he had visited the Chinese embassy and conveyed to the Chinese president, premier and the Chinese people their condolences on behalf of the entire Pakistani nation.

The Chinese leadership was assured that the investigation would be carried out immediately and the responsible would get exemplary punishment, he added. The prime minister reiterated that “they would not rest till the elimination of terrorism.”

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Shehbaz Sharif

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