PR No.149 Islamabad: April 19, 2016

President Mamnoon Hussain has said that Pakistan seeks Full Dialogue Partnership (FDP) with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as part of its efforts to establish a mutually beneficial relationship and to further Pakistan’s “Vision East Asia” policy which aims at strengthening political, trade and economic ties with ASEAN member states.

The President said this while exchanging views with envoys of ASEAN who called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, Islamabad on Tuesday.

The President stated that Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with ASEAN and enjoys friendly relations with all its member countries. President Mamnoon Hussain expressed Pakistan’s keenness to make its positive contribution after acquiring FDPstatus with ASEAN.

The President noted that Pakistan’s trade with ASEAN states was far below potential and emphasized that there is ample scope to increase the trade manifold through concerted efforts. The President urged that investors and businessmen from ASEAN states may take advantage of liberal investment policies offered by Pakistan and invest in the fields ofenergy and infrastructure.

The President apprised the envoys that Pakistan also offers vast opportunities in tourism as there are several attractive tourist sites including remains of Gandhara civilization which could be of interest to tourists from ASEAN. The President called for easing of travel and smooth visa regime to help in promoting tourism and business.

The President said that Pakistan seeks friendly relations with all its neighbours and is making sincere efforts for peace in Afghanistan adding that efforts of Quadrilateral Group will pave way for peace in Afghanistan to usher prosperity in the whole region. President Mamnoon Hussain said that the Zarb-e-Azb Operation has been successful and about 90% of the Tribal Areas have been cleared of the terrorists and criminal elements. The President reaffirmed that the Zarb-e-Azb Operation will continue till elimination of the last terrorist.

The President said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a landmark project of the century, which is going to open up new avenues of investment and prosperity not just in Pakistan but the whole region. The President noted that several Central Asian Republics (CARs) are evincing keen interest in connecting with CPEC to reap economic dividends.

The diplomats said that ASEAN welcomes with great interest Pakistan’s desire to become Full Dialogue Partners (FDP) and hoped that after the completion of due process, Pakistan’s application for FDP will be considered favorably. The envoys appreciated Pakistan’s “Vision East Asia” and hoped that Pakistan’s trade and political ties with ASEAN members will grow further in the future.

The ASEAN diplomats thanked the President for a candid interaction with them and hoped that ties between Pakistan and ASEAN member states will further strengthen. Envoys from Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia were present during the meeting. Later, the President also hosted a lunch for ASEAN Ambassadors / High Commissioners.