Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday that she looked forward to visiting Pakistan in the first half of 2017.
She said this as she walked into a meeting between Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and UK’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Sir Mark Lyall Grant at 10 Downing Street, London.
The prime minister conveyed good wishes to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the people of Pakistan, according to a message received from London.
Mr Nisar congratulated Ms May on assuming the office of prime minister and said that he hoped that relations between the two countries would improve under her leadership. He expressed the hope that Britain and Pakistan could enhance cooperation at all levels after her visit next year.
He said her visit would be timely considering the regional political situation in South Asia and would help open up new channels of multi-lateral cooperation and coordination.
During his conversation with Sir Mark, the interior minister stressed the need to focus on Indian intransigence. He said India’s hegemonic stance and aggressive posturing was a threat to peace and stability in the region.
Mr Nisar stated that Pakistan would not cow down to bullying tactics, adding that “we reserve the right to avenge the blatant and unprovoked killing of our soldiers”. He stressed that the global community would have to come together to counter India’s designs against Pakistan. He also urged global leaders to stop viewing South Asia through India’s lens.
On the subject of the war against terrorism, Mr Nisar said that terrorism was a threat to the region and international peace. “The people of Pakistan and its security institutions are determined to wipe out terrorism from its soil.” He said the security situation in Pakistan had improved in the last three years.
On the regional situation, the interior minister said, “A peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan”.
Mr Nisar said that friendly relations between Pakistan and its neighbouring countries were based on a principle of reciprocity, which was a fundamental and important element of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
Highlighting the sacrifices of the people of Pakistan and security institutions in the war against terrorism, the minister said the people of Pakistan believed there would be no discrimination at the international level on such a sensitive issue and that the world must acknowledge the role Pakistan had played to ensure global peace.
Sir Mark appreciated the sacrifices of those who had lost their lives in the war against terrorism, and assured Mr Nisar that the UK would continue to provide assistance for the welfare and socio-economic development of the country.