ISLAMABAD - Acting President Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari has said that Pakistan highly values its relations with Australia, as it is an important development partner for Pakistan.

He was expressing his views in a meeting with Australian Parliamentary delegation led by President of Australian Senate the Hon John Hogg. It is pertinent to mention that the delegation is on six days visit to Pakistan on the invitation of the Acting President.

The Acting President said that they highly appreciated timely support extended by people and government of Australia in the form of flood relief assistance in the past years, during earthquake in 2005 and also for Internally Displaced Persons of Swat and Malakand in 2009-10. The Acting President said that it was utmost important to have regular bilateral interactions ranging from the highest level as well as Parliamentary exchanges and people to people contacts between our two countries in order to add greater substance to their relations in diverse fields.

Talking about bilateral trade between the two countries, the Acting President said that it was satisfying to note that their trade volume has risen to US $ 700 million but there was vast existing potential that needed to be utilised. Pakistan-Australia economic and trade relations are an important component of our relations and hence need to be built on. The Acting President reiterated that Pakistan at this critical juncture in its war on terrorism wanted more trade than aid through increased access to EU and Australian markets to address the root causes of extremism and terrorism like unemployment and poverty.  Bokhari said it was a positive development that an Australian company had shown interest in investment in Thar Coal Mine project. Bokhari told the delegates that energy security was a major concern for Pakistan and they looked forward for investment from their friends in energy sector. 

Reciprocating the President of the Australian Senate, Mr. John Hogg said that Parliament to Parliament relations were very crucial for generating conducive environment for building relations seamlessly in other areas. He said that they supported Pakistan fully in its fight against war on terror and would continue to assist Pakistan in not only stemming the tide of terrorism but also addressing the root causes of terrorism in order to eradicate this menace for once and all. Senator John stressed the need for close contacts between parliamentarians via face to face contacts and through use of modern technology like video conferencing, usage of face book and twitter in order to develop deep and lasting linkages and networks for sharing each other’s experiences for strengthening of democracy and democratic traditions in their respective countries. He urged the parliamentarians that they should employ direct contacts as well as modern technology for reaching their people in order to solve their problems. He reiterated that committees of Australian and Pakistan’s Parliament must engage with each other via exchange of delegations and through access to modern technology.   Later, the Australian Parliamentary delegation also visited Senate and National Assembly Halls.

The Australian Parliamentary delegation included Senator the Hon John Hogg (President of Australian Senate-Delegation Leader); Senator Sean Edwards; Nick Champion MP; Senator the Hon David Johnston; Graham Perrett MP; Ms Jill Hall MP; Ms Julia Clifford (Advisor to the President); Australian High Commissioner Peter Heyward and Federal Agent Andy Davies (Australian Federal Police).

The Acting Chairman Senate, Senator Sabir Baloch; Leader of the House in the Senate, Jehangir Badar; Senator Saeed Ghani; Senator Osman Saifullah Khan; Senator in waiting, Senator Adress Khan Safi and Secretary Senate Iftikharullah Babar were also present on the occasion.