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Pakistan, Nepal pledge to improve bilateral ties

The News-International, Pakistan

Pakistan, Nepal pledge to improve bilateral ties

27 April 2010

Economic commission to meet in Islamabad

By our correspondent

KATHMANDU: Pakistan and Nepal have decided to hold their joint economic commission’s meeting this year in Islamabad. It is stalled for the last five years.

The two countries have resolved to further improve their bilateral ties in the interest of the two nations. The two countries have also decided to reactivate special task force, constituted for concluding the free trade agreement (FTA). With this Nepal is expected to be the second member state of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) after Sri Lanka that would be inking FTA with Pakistan. The FTA with Sri Lanka is working well to the benefit of the people of the two countries.

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was on overnight stay in Kathmandu, made the best use of his presence in this capital by holding two back-to-back meetings with the leaders of Nepal; first Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and then President Ram Baran Yadav. He also held in-depth consultations with members of the Pakistan diplomatic mission, including Ambassador Abrar Ahmad.

Prime Minister Gilani is the first prime minister, who visited Nepal in five years. The two countries had also resumed their bilateral consultations last year when Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir visited Kathmandu and held bilateral consultations.

Talking to a group of local media, Prime Minister Gilani reiterated Pakistan’s position with regard to its ties with India and said Islamabad is keen to normalise its relations with India. He said Pakistan attaches great significance to its ties with the regional countries, including Nepal and India.

Interestingly, Nepalese business and commercial centres close down at 8.00pm and power loadshedding is a regular phenomenon. The people have accepted it and they don’t resort to agitation against it. Prime Minister Gilani thanked his host counterpart, who later hosted a dinner in his honour and said that he was impressed the way people of Nepal have welcomed him on their soil as he saw people thronging on both sides of the seven kilometres route to greet him right from the airport to his hotel suit.

The host prime minister felicitated Syed Yousuf Gilani on the adoption and enforcement of the 18th Amendment. Prime Minister Madhav Kumar briefed him on the constitutional tangle his ruling party and the country are facing. “Mr Prime Minister it is your sagacity and leadership qualities that have made possible for Pakistan to draft such difficult constitutional amendments and develop consensus about it,” he said.

The Nepalese president also referred to constitutional achievements of Prime Minister Gilani and hoped that Pakistan would make tremendous progress under his leadership. Prime Minister Gilani extended invitation to the president and the prime minister to visit Pakistan. The invitation was immediately accepted by both the leaders. They will visit Pakistan soon after approval of the schedule through mutual consultations.