KUWAIT CITY/ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that Pakistan was a well-wisher of Afghanistan and wanted tension-free ties with its neighbor, but Kabul would have to crush those militant elements who were carrying out terrorist activities inside Pakistan.

Talking to journalists onboard his plane while returning from Kuwait on Tuesday, Nawaz Sharif said Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad will continue till the elimination of terrorism.

Responding to a question, the prime minister said he has directed for speeding up work on the electoral reforms. Next elections will be held on time, he added.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in a meeting in Kuwait City on Tuesday agreed to establish a joint business council to address the issues of bilateral trade.

Both the countries also agreed to cooperate with each other in five different fields.

During a meeting and delegation level talks, leaders from both the countries reiterated their desire to further strengthen the bilateral relations.

During the course of their warm and cordial exchanges at Amiri Diwan in Kuwait City, the two leaders discussed issues of mutual interest.

Sharif underlined the need for enhancing economic cooperation between Pakistan and Kuwait in industrial, agriculture, energy and defence sectors.

The prime minister urged the Kuwaiti investors to take advantage of the immense economic opportunities available in Pakistan.

He also apprised the Amir of Kuwait of his fruitful meetings with the prime minister of Kuwait and the speaker of National Parliament of Kuwait and with the Kuwaiti businessmen and investors.

The prime minister thanked the Amir of Kuwait for extending warm welcome to him and his delegation in Kuwait.

Earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan and Kuwait had been economic and trade partners for long and Pakistan wished to further enhance its relations with Kuwait in all spheres.

Talking to his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah at the Bayan Palace, the prime minister said the Joint Ministerial Commission between the two countries provided the best platform to take stock of bilateral cooperation in various economic sectors and setting new benchmarks to carry this cooperation forward.

Referring to the level of bilateral trade between the two countries, he reiterated that this needed to be further enhanced to its fullest potential.

Encouraging greater private sector interaction could enhance the existing level of trade as well as bridge the imbalance in existing trade patterns, he said.

He said the two countries could cooperate in the fields of agriculture, construction, poultry, livestock and fisheries and to this end meetings of experts of the two countries be held to work out a plan of action.

He also emphasised the importance of early resumption of GCC-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the support of Kuwait and most importantly spoke of the need for lifting of visa restrictions on Pakistani nationals as it would remove a major hurdle in freedom of movement for the business community.

He informed his Kuwaiti counterpart that Pakistan was an investment-friendly country and an attractive destination for foreign investors, due to its liberal investment policy and high rate of return.

There were ample opportunities for investors, with 100 percent equity or joint ventures in Pakistan, he said.

The premier said there were a number of energy and infrastructure development projects in Pakistan that could be considered by foreign investors.

More than 114,000 Pakistanis live in Kuwait which was a proof of the strong ties existing between the two countries, he said, adding it also confirmed the immense importance that Pakistan attached to relations with Kuwait.

The prime minister and his Kuwaiti counterpart also held one-on-one meeting followed by delegation-level talks.

Earlier, prime minister was accorded a warm welcome upon arrival at the Bayan Palace with guard of honour.

Meanwhile, Premier Sharif arrived back in Pakistan late on Tuesday night after completing his Kuwait visit.

MUTUAL PARLIAMENTARY VISITS

 

In a meeting with Speaker of Kuwaiti Parliament Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim here at the National Parliament of Kuwait, Premier Sharif stressed strengthening and developing fraternal ties between the two countries through close mutual parliamentary links.

The prime minister suggested that parliamentary relations between the two chambers deserved to be raised to an advanced phase of cooperation.

 

KUWAIT LIFTS VISA BAN ON PAKISTANIS

 

APP adds: Pakistanis can now apply for Kuwait’s visa as the country has decided to lift its visa ban on Pakistan after six years.

According to a TV news channel, the decision was made during the meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Kuwait Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah on Tuesday.

In 2011, Kuwait suspended all tourism, visit, trade visas as well as visas sponsored by spouses for nationals of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to details, the ban was placed due to “difficult security conditions in the five countries” and to “the remarkably increasing tendency of nationals from the five countries to apply for visas to bring in relatives who faced or could face arrest by local authorities.”

 

Islamabad wants tension-free ties with Kabul: PM