Islamabad - President Mamnoon Hussain has said that the government is taking effective measures to prevent misuse of blasphemy law.

The president stated that the blasphemy law in Pakistan applies to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, adding that the law is non-discriminatory in this regard. The President said this while talking to a delegation of the German-South Asian Parliamentary Group of the German Parliament headed by the Group’s Chairman MP Niels Annen at Aiwan-e-Sadr on Wednesday.

The president said that Pakistan pursues its policy on the death penalty in the light of its constitution and international law, adding that Pakistan’s decision on lifting the moratorium on the death penalty shall act as a deterrent to the financiers and handlers of terrorism. The president emphasised that the Pakistani people had been demanding stern action against terrorists.

The president stated that Pakistan has been the worst victim of terrorism, having suffered economic losses amounting to more than US $100 billion and having lost more than 60,000 innocent lives including women and children. Reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to fighting terrorism and extremism, the president said that National Action Plan (NAP) has been formulated to effectively deal with the situation.

He expressed the resolve that operation Zarb-e-Azb would continue indiscriminately until the menace of terrorism is eliminated from the country. He also expressed satisfaction on successful progression of the operation.

The president said that terrorists have no religion and the need of the hour is to promote inter-faith harmony for world peace. The President stated that the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees fundamental rights for all citizens irrespective of religion, race, caste, colour, creed or gender.

The president said that the government has established the National Commission on Human Rights emphasizing that an independent judiciary, free media and a vibrant civil society provide additional safeguards for the protection of human rights.

Hussain said that Pakistan accords great importance to its relations with Germany, adding that Pakistan desires to further enhance its relations with Germany, both at the bilateral level and in the EU context. He said that Pakistan seeks to enhance bilateral contacts, parliamentary exchanges, trade and cooperation in defence, counter terrorism, energy and various other sectors.

The president observed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Germany in November 2014 also helped further cement the existing ties between the two countries. He apprised that Pakistan keenly anticipates the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Pakistan this year upon an invitation extended by the Pakistani Prime Minister.

The president said that Pakistan is an investor friendly country and looks forward to greater German investment, particularly in the energy sector.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi said on Wednesday that Pakistan-Germany relations are on an upward trajectory with 20 per cent increase in trade last year.

He was talking to a seven-member delegation of German-South Asian Parliamentary Friendship Group here on Wednesday.

Welcoming the delegation, the SAPM stated that Pakistan greatly values its ties with Germany and the visit of the Prime Minister to Berlin last November has positively contributed towards their enhancement.

The special assistant briefed the delegation on Prime Minister’s vision for a peaceful neighbourhood. He also dilated upon relations with India, Afghanistan and the country’s position on Yemen issue.

Speaking on the occasion, the head of the German delegation said Germany greatly values its relations with Pakistan and keenly looks forward to further strengthening these relations.

Members of the delegation were deeply appreciative of the frank interaction and exchange of views on issues of mutual interest.

The German MPs’ visit is specifically aimed at discussing the further strengthening of German-Pakistani relations with a special focus on cooperation between the two parliaments. The Pakistan-Germany Parliamentary Friendship Group had been the first bilateral friendship group that was established in the Parliament of Pakistan upon the initiative of the now Speaker of the National Assembly during the past legislative period.

During their visit to Pakistan, the seven parliamentarians have also called on Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, speaker of the National Assembly.

The visit also included meetings and talks with civil society members and high-ranking journalists as well as representatives of the textile industry and trade unions.