Pakistan for relations with Afghanistan on basis of bilateral respect for territorial integrity: NA told

Islamabad: Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan has said that Pakistan remains focused on building a comprehensive and multidimensional relationship with Afghanistan on the basis of bilateral respect for sovereignty and territory integrity.

On behalf of Advisor on Foreign Affairs‚ he told the National Assembly during question hour Wednesday that strengthening of relations with Kabul is part of the Prime Minister’s vision of a peaceful and prosperous neighbourhood.

Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan said his ministry is in negotiations with the relevant stakeholders to enhance the exports of rice.

He said the house that government is striving to significantly enhance the export level through diversification of products.

He said the House that Pakistan has granted Most Favoured Nation [MFN] status to all the members of World Trade Organization on reciprocal basis except for India and Israel.

He said Pakistan wants to normalize trade relations with India while protecting the sensitive sectors of the country.

The Minister said that our exports to the European countries may increase by one billion dollar to 1.5 billion dollars in one year due to the grant of GSP status by the EU.

Minister for Overseas Pakistani Pir Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi said the proposed draft policy for Overseas Pakistanis has recommended the grant of right of vote to expatriate Pakistanis.

The policy also recommends that the personal voting and postal ballot may be a more viable option to be exercised by Overseas Pakistanis having National Identity Cards.

Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada said tourism is a big industry but it has severely been affected by law and order situation and terrorism.

Meanwhile, Responding to a call attention notice moved by Dr. Nafisa Shah‚ Minister of State for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar said a new strategy is being evolved to ensure implementation of polio vaccination programme in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Under this strategy locally influential people will be taken on board to get the ban on the polio vaccination lifted there. She said that Ulema are also being taken on board for the success of polio eradication campaign.

The Minister said Imam-e-Kaaba is also being invited next month who will use his influence to remove misperceptions about the polio vaccination.

She said these tribal areas are nurseries for polio cases and this year’s seven cases of polio have also been recorded in North Waziristan. She said these areas have remained in accessible due to security threats and law and order situation.

The Minister of State said the federal government is committed to make Pakistan polio-free country and in this regard initiatives of the provincial governments will be fully supported.

To another call attention notice moved by Khalid Mansoor and others‚ Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad said that under the Prime Minister’s package two year contract employment will be given to the children of deceased employees.