Emphasis on expansion of trade and economic relations between the two countries



Nov 01 - 07, 2004





German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, during his visit to Pakistan last week, held wide ranging talks with President General Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in Islamabad with an emphasis on expansion of trade and economic relations between the two countries. A group of German industrialists accompanying the Chancellor explored the investment opportunities in different sectors of economy showing keen interest in energy sector.

During his meeting with President Musharraf, the visiting chancellor reviewed the bilateral relation with a view to enhancing cooperation in various fields and exchanged views on a host of regional and international issues of common interest. The two leaders reaffirmed the mutual desire to further strengthen political and economic relationship.

During the meeting, President Musharraf apprised the German leader of the situation in the region with particular reference to Pakistan-India relations. The President underlined Islamabad's commitment to a result-oriented composite dialogue with India to resolve all outstanding issues including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. President Musharraf said increased economic cooperation will benefit both countries. He also informed the German Chancellor about Pakistan's efforts to lay a network of communication infrastructure to serve as a gateway for trade between Central Asia, the South Asia and the Gulf region.

After his meeting with the Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, the German Chancellor told newsmen that Pakistan and Germany have expressed their resolve to further strengthen bilateral ties in all fields particularly in economic, trade and commerce. He said both the countries have signed an agreement to increase economic relations and Germany will provide 22 million euro for hydropower generation in Pakistan. He said Germany will also take concrete steps to enhance investment in Pakistan in various fields including trade and small and medium enterprises.



To a question, he said Germany will play an active role to enhance Pakistan's trade and commercial relations with European Union and provide level playing field in the European Union. The German Chancellor said although measures are underway to combat terrorism but there is still need to further increase cooperation for international community to eliminate this curse.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said terrorism is beig challenge for international community and need wide-ranging cooperation to combat it. He said the developed world should take steps to improve the socio-economic condition of the developing nations. The Prime Minister said the Western world should take concrete steps to remove the sense of deprivation from the Muslim world to resolve the issue of terrorism. He said Pakistan, along with the international community, is committed to combat terrorism. About Afghanistan, Shaukat Aziz said Pakistan wanted a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. He said the elections in Afghanistan will lead to a new era of stability and progress in that country and Pakistan's relations will further improve with the passage of time.

Earlier, addressing the Pak-German Business and Investment Forum Chancellor Gerhard Schoroeder expressed the hope that sustainable and constructive economic policies being pursued by the Pakistan government will change misperceptions about Pakistan in the international community and will pave way to enhance foreign investment in the country.

Pakistan and German officials also signed a soft loan agreement of 22.23 million euros ($ 27 million) for development of a medium size hydropower project on this occasion. The mark up would be only 0.75 percent, and the loan would be payable in 40 years. The German Chancellor also called for a dialogue among different civilizations and creating economic stability in the world over to win the war on terrorism. He was of the view that terrorism could not be fought with police and military alone. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz reiterated Pakistan's stand that the underlying causes, the sense of deprivation and poverty that lead to terrorism should be looked at and the Western world should take some concrete measures to end them.

Schroeder certainly understands the importance of peace and security, international economic cooperation and the underlying causes of terrorism and extremism. The German nation has arisen from the debris of two horrible world wars to an economic recovery, which can be the envy of any nation. Germany has a highly significant place in the European Union, and among the G-8 countries. Germany has played a significant role in the concessions given by the European Union for an increase in the import of Pakistani rice. Pakistan is faced with an acute shortage of water resources and dearth of electricity for which it requires new dams. The soft loans given by Germany would help reduce this shortage of electricity and would pave the way for economic cooperation between the two countries.

German Chancellor is also very right when he says that terrorism could not be fought with police and military alone, but requires an effective and complete cooperation of the international community. Dialogue between civilizations is indeed essential in view of the rapidly deteriorating international situation. So far as Pakistan's role in the international campaign against terrorism is concerned, the international community and the German Chancellor has also acknowledged it. But the causes that bring into being this hydra headed monster of terrorism need also to be seriously looked into. Disgruntled elements from nations deprived of their rights, take to this path of terrorism and extremism. It would be a travesty of facts to connect events occurring in Occupied Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Chechnya, where people are carrying out a struggle for their rights against barbarity and oppression, with terrorism. Prime Minister Shaukat saying the right thing when he asked the Western world for some concrete steps for removing this sense of deprivation. President Pervez Musharraf has also been emphasizing for the removal of these causes that lead to terrorism.

Pakistan and Germany have always enjoyed good relations, which have, in fact, improved over the period of time. Chancellor Schroedor's visit to Islamabad will hopefully contribute towards further boosting the political, economic and investment ties between the two countries. It will hopefully open up new avenues of opportunities for both nations. It's encouraging that the two sides discussed ways and means for enhancing mutual cooperation in various fields with focus on assisting Pakistan to attain progress and development. There is obviously of trade and economic relations between the two countries. As a developing country, Pakistan obviously looks for foreign investment for its socio economic development. It offers excellent opportunities and massive incentives to foreign entrepreneurs to invest in Pakistan. We are confident that German industrialists and entrepreneurs accompanying the Chancellor will find them far more attractive than many other countries in the world. Pakistan wants trade rather than aid as through business, trade and investment it can lay sound basis for its progress and prosperity.