TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Friday said Islamabad valued its relationship with Iran, and emphasized strengthening the existing affinity between the two countries by expanding economic ties.
The prime minister was talking to Dr Kamran Bagheri Lankarani, Iranian Minister for Health and Medical Education who called on him at PM House here.
Prime Minister Aziz expressed the hope that setting up of Pak-Iran Investment Company and signing of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) would boost trade and economic ties between Pakistan and Iran.
Shaukat Aziz said Iran was Pakistan’s important neighbor and the two countries enjoyed long and lasting relationship based on common faith, shared history, heritage and values.
The prime minister said as a result of high growth and economic turnaround achieved by Pakistan, the energy needs of the country were growing and Pakistan desired to enhance cooperation with Iran in the energy sector.
Pakistan, the prime minister said, was keen to increase the import of electricity from Iran.
The prime minister also emphasized the need for early finalization of Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline on terms and conditions feasible for all parties.
The Prime Minister talked of the golden period of Islamic history when Muslim scientists and physicians were involved in serious research and advanced new theories in various scientific disciplines, which paved the way for later discoveries and inventions.
He said the Muslim world needs to invest in education and research to build knowledge economies. This will guarantee their economic development, sovereignty and independence in decision-making, the prime minister added.
The prime minister said as a result of the reforms undertaken by President General Pervez Musharraf seven years ago, the economic and social landscape of the country has significantly improved.
“Today’s Pakistan is different from the Pakistan of yesterday. People take pride in their country and nationhood,” the prime minister said. The government, the prime minister said, believes in development with dignity and growth with equity.
The prime minister said Pakistan recognizes Iran’s right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes under IAEA’s safeguards but is opposed to nuclear proliferation.
Talking of the health sector reforms, the prime minister said the government was focusing on preventive and curative steps and had launched a number of awareness campaigns to eradicate diseases.
He said the government was committed to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to provide better facilities of health to the people.
Dr. Kamran Bagheri Lankarani expressed appreciation of the Iranian government for Pakistan’s stand on various regional and international issues and said this was contributing to regional peace and safety.
He said while Pakistan and Iran had close relations, the trade and economic cooperation needed to be enhanced for the benefit of the two countries.
Dr. Kamran Bagheri Lankarani said the two countries needed to create linkage in various areas of biotechnology and said Iran was ready to help Pakistan in vaccine production.
Dr Kamran Bagheri Lankarani said Iran was keen to finalize the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project and was taking steps in that direction.
The meeting was attended among others by Pakistani Minister for Health Mohammad Nasir Khan and other senior officials.