ISLAMABAD – Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has underscored the need for focusing on the economic development and security of the region, saying that peace and stability in Afghanistan holds the key to this end."Pakistan supports every effort intended towards peace and stability of Afghanistan," he was talking to a delegation of the ambassadors of Central Asian countries, that called on President Zardari at presidential palace in Islamabad on Tuesday.
Those who were present during the meeting included Afghan Ambassador Mohammad Umer Daudzai, Ambassador of Azerbaijan Dashgin Mazi Oglu Shikarv, Kazakh Ambassador Bakhitbek Shabarbayed, Kyrgyz Ambassador Orozov Alik Karybaevich, Tajik Ambassador Zbaydullo Zubaydov, Turkmen Ambassador Berdiniyazov Sapar and Uzbek Ambassador Oybek A Usmanov.
Defence Minister Ch Ahmed Mukhtar, Water and Power Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain, and Senator Babar Awan were also present during the meeting besides Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar.
Matters relating to further extending mutual cooperation in training programmes for bankers, diplomats, business professionals, armed forces and law enforcement personnel were discussed during the meeting.
Briefing the media, Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar said that matters concerning mutual relations, peace and stability of the region, the need for evolving solutions to the regional problems, promoting connectivity in the region and encouraging trade and economic activities were discussed during the meeting.
Farhatullah Babar said President Zardari emphasised the need for taking advantage of the geographical proximity and forging a mutual partnership that could provide solution to the present issues confronting the states of the region.
He said that all "our countries have rich cultural heritage that we need to share and pass on to our next generation". The president said that peace and stability was a common challenge of the region and "we need to find regional solutions to our regional problems".
He said that "we support Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process and would provide all possible help to promote enduring peace and finding permanent solutions to the present issues and challenges". "Pakistan is working closely with the Afghan government and other regional and international partners in this regard," he added.
The president said: "We need to improve our economic and commercial relations by organising business forum and launching joint ventures in various areas of mutual interest. Also, we need to gear up implantation of decisions taken on the platform of Joint Economic Forum."
He said that by improving connectivity and modes of communications, the countries of the region could enhance their trade and economic activities significantly. He said that Pakistan due to its geo-strategic location offers shortest access to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries at Gwadar and Karachi seaports.
He said that there was also a need for early implementation of projects that focus on meeting the energy requirements of the countries that were facing severe energy shortages. He said that early implementation of projects of electricity transmission lines and gas pipelines would boost the productions in these countries thus promoting economic activities and creating more jobs for the people.
He also called upon enhancing mutual cooperation in security and defense paradigm and further strengthening all channels and mechanism to address the issues of drug and human trafficking.
Later, the ambassadors attended an Iftar-dinner hosted by President Asif Ali Zardari for the ambassadors of the Muslim countries. (Agencies)