ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has said that the government was sensitising international community about the negative impact of drone attacks and persuading it to find ways and means to curb terrorism, which were not counter-productive.

Addressing the European Union member states Ambassadors in Federal Capital at a luncheon hosted in their honour, Prime Minister Nawaz said Pakistan was looking forward to deepening further its cooperation with its European partners in key areas including trade, investment, energy, infrastructure development, education and human resource development.

“European countries, as our largest trade and investment partners, enjoy a unique position in our priorities,” he added.

The high commissioner of UK and ambassadors of France, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, Hungary, Greece, Romania, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Poland and Ambassador of European Union to Pakistan attended the lunch.

The prime minister said they were satisfied and deeply encouraged to see the progress towards grant of GSP+ status to Pakistan, which would be going to be voted on by the European Parliament. “I know this for a fact that our high hopes about Pakistan winning this status are very strongly founded on supportive and cooperative role of the resident missions,” the prime minister said. He expressed his deep gratitude to them for their support and assistance in this regard.

The prime minister expressed his confidence that given Pakistan’s ever strengthening relations and mutual confidence, EU’s efforts and support to Pakistan shall go a long way in benefitting all the stakeholders, and in particular, Pakistan, by stimulating further economic growth, curbing extremism and promoting social stability.

“Pakistan is a country full of potential, but not yet really exploited and we are looking to working closely with you, both in exploring, exploiting and developing this potential and realising the opportunities,” he added.

Addressing the issue of drone attacks, he said, “You are fully aware of the counter-productive impact of the continuing drone strikes. We are fully engaged in sensitising the international community about the impact of these attacks and persuading it to find ways and means to curb terrorism that are not counter-productive”.

Nawaz said: “We are determined to rid Pakistan of terrorism and extremism. This menace is complex in nature and is rooted in the events of the past three decades, having global, regional and local dimensions. We believe that the best way to deal with these challenges is through national consensus, which we are generating through various forums including the All Parties Conference and the Parliamentary resolutions.”

The prime minister said: “One of the foremost foreign policy priorities is to have good neighborly, friendly and cooperative relations with all our neighbours including India, based on mutual respect and esteem”.

He told the ambassadors that the new government has approached the internal and external challenges by creating a climate of political tolerance and accommodation, based on respect of mandates of all parties. Our initial steps were focused on achieving a measure of macroeconomic stability, he said.

The prime minister maintained that a multi-pronged strategy is being developed to address the energy crisis.

“Last week, I have launched a Business Loan scheme to promote small and medium enterprises across the country,” he said.

He said:  “These interventions will go a long way in creating job opportunities, stimulating growth and improving the quality of our human resource.”

The prime minister was of the view that they have developed a comprehensive development plan, the ‘Vision – 2025’.

“The purpose of these measures is to put our country on the path of progress, peace and sustainable development.”