ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said Pakistan is pursuing the policy of a peaceful neighbourhood and wishes to resolve all outstanding issues with its neighbors peacefully and through dialogue.
Talking to President of Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov on Sunday, the Prime Minister said that longstanding bilateral relations were the manifestation of a common desire to explore possibilities for enhancing cooperation between Pakistan and Russia.
The Prime Minister reiterated his resolve to establish a strong partnership between Pakistan and Russia in all fields as this cooperation would positively contribute towards promoting peace and stability in the region.
"Pakistan remains confident that its longstanding partnership with the Russian Federation as well as with its Muslim regions, including the Republic of Tatarstan, would witness significant progress in all areas of mutual interest," he said.
Rustam Minnikhanov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan, thanked the Prime Minister for extending warm hospitality during his visit to Pakistan and said that the Tatar business delegation had held fruitful meetings in Lahore.
The Prime Minister expressed the hope that the Joint Business Forum with businessmen from both sides on board would develop mutually beneficial contacts and help in boosting bilateral trade. Cooperation in sectors including banking, halal food, cement, automotive industry, pharmaceuticals, technology, culture and education, should be explored, he said.
The visiting delegation comprised of Albert Karimov, Deputy Prime Minister, Alexey Dedov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Pakistan, Taliya Minullina, Chief Executive of Tatarstan Investment Development Agency and Marat Gatin, Deputy Director of Foreign Affairs. A day earlier, Punjab and Tatarstan agreed to promote cooperation in different sectors including skill development, petro chemicals, technology, industry, mines, agriculture, livestock, tourism and sports.
These agreements were inked during a delegation level meeting of the two sides. The Tatarstan delegation was led by President Rustam Minnikhanov while Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif headed that of Punjab.
The meeting also constituted a joint committee to identify different sectors for promoting cooperation between the Punjab province and the Republic of Tatarstan.
In their addresses, both the leaders condemned terrorism in the hardest terms and said it was quite incorrect to link terrorism with Islam, a religion which teaches peace and tolerance.
Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov said Lahore has welcomed him with open arms and "we will promote regional cooperation on solid grounds". He said it was absolutely incorrect to link terrorism and fanaticism with the religion of Islam. "Islam teaches peace and brotherhood. Islamic norms are based on brotherhood, tolerance and love. We will work united to eliminate terrorism; and added that they are with Pakistan in her sincere efforts for the elimination of terrorism."
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said he is heartily pleased over the visit of the president of brotherly country Tatarstan to Lahore. "Russian Federation and Pakistan enjoy cordial relations, and we should work jointly to further promote them. Punjab government and Tatarstan would promote cooperation in different sectors on permanent basis. We are happy that our brothers have visited us and your visit would promote relations between the Punjab government and the Republic of Tatarstan."
He said that tremendous potential was available for cooperation in agriculture, livestock, skills development, mines and other sectors in the Punjab. "We would be happy if cooperation is promoted in these sectors with Tatarstan and the experiences of Tatarstan are benefitted upon."
Shehbaz said that terrorists and fanatics are savages and killers of humanity. "They have no color or religion. Terrorism is an international issue, which requires coordinated efforts to deal with it."
President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov also held a one-on-one meeting with CM Shahbaz Sharif to discuss matters of mutual interest, including promotion of bilateral relations in different sectors.
Shahbaz Sharif said Pakistan and Russian Federation have economic relations for the last many decades and CPEC provides opportunities to the take them to new heights.
The Chief Minister invited Tatarstan investors to invest in Pakistan, especially in Punjab, and highlighted the vast business scope and strong infrastructure which Punjab provided in this respect. "The investors of Tatarstan should sit together with the investors of Pakistan and the Punjab, and develop a roadmap for promoting bilateral economic relations," he proposed.