ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister (PM) Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Thursday said externally-sponsored terrorism and violent extremism were grave threats to a secure and prosperous Pakistan, and the country would protect its interests at all costs.
“We will protect our vital interests at all costs. This message must be heard loud and clear,” Sharif said in his address to the Envoys Conference of SAARC and ECO Regions.
The prime minister said Pakistani nation was dismayed by the recent “irresponsible” and “imprudent” statements by Indian political leadership.
“This vitiates the atmosphere and takes us farther away from our goals of regional peace and stability,” PM Nawaz said.
However, the premier said Pakistan would not abandon its high moral ground because of provocations.
“We will persevere in our quest for a peaceful neighborhood. But there should be reciprocity and acknowledgement of the overtures I have made to promote the dialogue process,” Nawaz added.
Sharif said the issue of Jammu and Kashmir could not be relegated to the back burner of history and mentioned his meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Tajikistan where he reminded him that it was incumbent on the UN Security Council to ensure early implementation of its resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir.
The premier termed the conference’s theme of “Connectivity” as most apt and timely due to the SAARC and ECO regions geostrategy, economic and trade arteries, and rich natural and human resources.
Sharif said this mega-project was a transformational, and a game changer for Pakistan and for the region, which would, in due course, also benefit adjoining and peripheral regions.
Sharif urged the regional countries to create greater awareness about this historic initiative, dispel misgivings about it, and harness resources for the project which will build the Gwadar Port as the regional trans-shipment pivot supported by a network of roads, railway lines, power plants, industrial zones, pipelines and fiber optic cables.
The prime minister said Pakistan’s promise as an ascending nation and a lucrative market was being recognized by world capitals and global markets.
The premier said the Pakistan government was according highest priority to security and energy to ensure that we continue to move on the pathway to economic revival, inclusive growth and social development.
The premier mentioned the Operation Zarb-e-Azb which had already taken down terrorists’ networks, disrupted their command and control system, and debilitated their supporting infrastructure.