Pak-UK launch `strategic dialogue`; UK says ties unbreakable

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 18:25

Islamabad: Pakistan and Britain on Tuesday
formally launched an "enhanced strategic dialogue" aimed at
strengthening their cooperation in key areas like security,
the war on terrorism, trade, health and education.

Addressing a news conference with his Pakistani
counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani, British Prime Minister David
Cameron described bilateral relations as "unbreakable" and
said that the two sides had agreed on boosting cooperation in
police services and intelligence-sharing.

Pakistan and Britain also agreed on the need to have a
peaceful, stable and democratic Afghanistan, said Cameron, who
is on a day-long visit to Pakistan at Gilani`s invitation.

"We will work with our friends in Pakistan to fight
terrorism," he added.

Gilani said he had "useful discussions" with Cameron
on a range of issues, including security, efforts to counter
terrorism, health and education.

He said he briefed Cameron about his meeting with
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Mohali on March 30 and the
resumption of the India-Pakistan dialogue process.

Cameron said Britain had launched a new package to
help Pakistan in imparting education to four million children
and training to 90,000 teachers.

"Putting money in health and education is an
investment to make Pakistan a trading success and a skill
success," he said.

Describing illiteracy as a root cause of terrorism,
Gilani said the focus was on improving education in Pakistan`s
tribal and remote areas.

He said over 30,000 Pakistani students were in Britain
for education and called on Cameron to provide more
scholarships.

Answering a question about the arrest warrant issued
by a Pakistani court for former president Pervez Musharraf in
connection with former premier Benazir Bhutto`s assassination,
Cameron said the two countries did not have any extradition
treaty and a "proper application" was needed to proceed in
this regard.

The Pakistani anti-terror court issued the warrant for
Musharraf, currently living in self-exile in Britain, after
investigators declared him an "absconder" and said he was not
cooperating in the probe into the investigation.

In response to another question, Cameron said no
restrictions had been imposed on issuing visas to Pakistanis
though the issuance of visas to students is being streamlined
as a number of them had violated rules and overstayed in
Britain.

Gilani said both countries had launched a
comprehensive strategic dialogue in the hope that it will go a
long way in strengthening bilateral ties.

They also agreed to increase bilateral trade from 1.2
billion pounds to 2.5 billion pounds by 2015, he said.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 18:25

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