Islamabad: Foreign Minister of Norway, Mr. Borge Brende, along with a high level delegation of ministry of foreign affairs of Norway visited Islamabad on Thursday. During his stay in Islamabad he made series of meetings with Pakistani leadership. Ambassador of Norway to Pakistan, Mr. Tore Nedrebo assisted the visting delegation which was comprised of Ms Tine Morch Smith, Mr Vebjorn Dysvik and MS Kristina Lie Revheim.
In his marathon meetings Mr. Borge Brende, met with Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Nawaz Sharif, Mr Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to PM on Foreign Affairs, Commerce Minister Eng Khuraam Dastigir, National security adviser, General® Nasir Khan Jangua, secretary defense General® Muhammad owais. In his first meeting with prime minister at PM house Mr. Borge Brende, the Norwegian Foreign Minister conveyed the deepest condolences on the behalf of Norwegian Prime Minister and the people of Norway over the tragic and terrorist incident in Quetta in which innocent lawyers, Journalists and ordinary people became victim of terrorism.
On the occasion Mr. Borge Brende, Appreciated the sacrifices rendered by Pakistani civil and military forces. He praised the counter terrorism strategy of Pakistani government resulted a sharp decline in terrorism related incidents in Pakistan. ‘’We feel very happy that the security situation in Pakistan has improved a lot. The country is more stable and we look forward for even better situation in the near future. Pakistan must play its role for a peaceful Afghanistan’’, said the Norwegian Foreign Minister. ‘’Peace in Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan and the region as well. We will extend all possible support to the Afghan-led peace initiatives’’, responded the Prime Minister.
Welcoming the delegation, at PM house Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said that eliminating terrorism from Pakistan was the topmost priority of his government. ‘’ We launched military offensive against terrorists after evolving a national consensus. The ongoing military operation “Zarb-e-Azb” has been a huge success in curtailing terrorism throughout the country. It has dismantled the terrorists’ networks that have lately resorted to hit soft targets out of sheer frustration, said the Prime Minister.
Briefing the visiting delegation about the GDP the Prime Minister said that after achieving a growth rate of 4.7% in GDP last year, Pakistan hopes to cross 5% growth in the GDP in coming months. The Prime Minister further added that the government is focusing on all crucial sectors of economy including agriculture and industry. Inflation is at record 40 years low in Pakistan, which is the result of our prudent economic policies, added the Prime Minister.
‘’We are working on fast-track basis to overcome the power shortages in Pakistan and will add up to 10,000 MW of electricity to our system by next year. We have diversified the energy mix in Pakistan and different projects of clean and renewable energy are simultaneously executed. Diamer Bhasha dam to be built on river Indus will alone generate electricity of about 4500 MW; apart from storing water and helping to mitigate floods, expressed the Prime Minister.
Foreign Minister of Norway Mr. Borge Brende, made delegation level meeting with Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz at foreign office. After meeting both addressed a joint press conference at foreign office, Sartaj Aziz said the bilateral ties have been reinforced by around 50,000 Pakistani Diaspora in Norway, contributing to different fields including parliament, education, medicine and business. Sartaj Aziz was surprised to know that three individuals of Pakistani origin had been elected to Norwegian parliament, fielded by three different parties.
He said 10 Norwegian companies had invested in Pakistan with Telenor being the biggest one, hoping that Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir would visit Norway in October to discuss the ways to strengthen economic ties between Pakistan and Norway.
Norwegian Foreign Minister said Norway was very proud of Pakistani Diaspora playing its productive role for Norwegian development including medicine, economy, judiciary and business besides politics. He said Norway desired to invest in Pakistan’s energy sector including hydro power, adding that the two sides would also have follow up meetings on economic cooperation as Pakistan’s commerce minister was scheduled to visit Norway in October to attend a summit.
He said it was pleasing to note that Pakistan’s economy was growing with reducing fiscal deficit. Briefing media about his meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he said besides other issues, the prime minister also expressed his commitment for betterment of education sector.
On Kashmir issue, the Norwegian foreign minister said they were trying to do their best to mitigate the situation as Norway had been positively contributing for peace in Afghanistan, Columbia and Philippine. He hoped that Pakistan and India should enhance their bilateral trade but impasse has to be broken.
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