ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has declared that Pakistan is ready to talk to India as wars were no solution to the issues.
Addressing the inaugural session of Pakistan Minerals Summit in Islamabad on Tuesday, Shehbaz Sharif, without naming India, said that they were ready to talk to their neigbhours, if there were serious matters on the table as wars were no solution to issues.
He said three wars were imposed on Pakistan in the last 75 years and these had generated more poverty and lack of resources which otherwise, had been spent on the development and prosperity of their people. “The neigbours have to understand that unless abnormalities are removed, normalcy cannot take place and the serious issues should be addressed through serious discussions,” he added.
Addressing the participants, Shehbaz Sharif declared that Pakistan has mineral reserves worth six trillion dollars but rued the fact that no attention was paid to this sector during the last 75 years.
Chief of the Army Staff General Asim Munir, mineral exerts and a large number of investors attended the summit.
Shehbaz Sharif said Thar region of Pakistan has world’s largest coal reserves. Reko Diq project is of national importance, he added.
The prime minister stressed the need to learn from the bitter experiences of past 75 years and move ahead with strenuous efforts, collaboration and dedication by exploring the untapped resources including the vast natural minerals and reserves and developing the agriculture, information technology and industrial sectors.
Addressing the “Dust to Development” summit, Shehbaz referred to keynote addresses of various speakers and said if these suggestions and proposals were translated into letter and spirit, he was convinced that the nation would find its lost place in the next few years through hard work and untiring efforts.
He regretted that country’s journey of 75 years was dotted with bitter factors as they could not fully exploit the precious natural deposits estimated at worth $6 trillion. “The day gives an opportunity to self-contemplation over a journey of last 75 years and the reasons which landed Pakistan into this situation with a begging bowl,” he added.
Elaborating his viewpoint, he said with the Russian support, Pakistan Steel Mills was established during 70s while in Reko Diq a hefty penalty of $10 billion was imposed on Pakistan and if it was enforced, the entire country’s foreign reserves would have been depleted. He referred to the Thar coal mines reserves and said these were being converted for the development of Pakistan.
Due to working of certain cartels, he said the natural resources were not explored in the past and cited that financial and political reasons were also involved in the delay which required deep introspection.
The prime minister said Chinot iron ores field belonged to the poor people of Pakistan, but it also showed another worst example of corruption.
He said without any bidding, it was handed over to a an overseas Pakistani who had no business history, but when the matter was taken up by the subsequent government and landed in a court of law, it termed the entire matter as manifestation of loot and plunder.
But later, he said, nothing happened as NAB could not arrest those who had been accused of plunder, adding that it was a heart wrenching story.
The summit was attended by federal ministers, foreign delegates, ambassadors, Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir, experts, relevant authorities and investors.
The prime minister further regretted that the previous governments should have dedicated themselves for the welfare of the poor people of Pakistan.
He also praised the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the financial support worth 2 billion dollars which also helped in reaching agreement with International Monetary Fund.
He said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia always stood together through thick and thin and supported each other at every forum.
The prime minister said that NAB, unfortunately, created fears and harassed the business community and bureaucrats in the past as it was used a tool for political witch hunting of political opponents.
The prime minister said the present government focused on building a strong nation.
He reiterated that Pakistan was keen to maintain friendly ties with all the countries for the mutual benefits of their people.
The prime minister said that the incumbent government would complete its term in the current month. The society had been bitterly divided, he said, adding unless they show unity and discipline, they could not succeed in their efforts, he added.
The prime minister said the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) was set up for the first time in the country including all the stakeholders that would collaborate and facilitate execution of the development projects.
On the occasions, different speakers including foreign delegates also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the need of exploration of natural resources of Pakistan by utilizing the latest technologies and offered different suggestions and proposals for facilitation to lure foreign investments.