Terror Hit Pakistan, Nigeria Enhance Cooperation in Counterterrorism, Youth Empowerment, Trade

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Pakistan and Nigeria are among 5 nations most impacted by terrorism, the Global Terrorism Index 2016 and 2017 show.

JUL 18, 2018: A seven-member delegation of Federal Republic of Nigeria led by its National Institute for Policy & Strategic Studies Director General Jonathan Mela Juma called on Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Dr Hassan Askari at his office on Tuesday.

During the meeting, different matters of mutual interest including promotion of Pakistan-Nigeria relations in different sectors and arrangements of upcoming elections in Pakistan came under discussion.

Talking on the occasion, Dr Askari expressed hope that the visit of Nigerian delegation will usher in start of a new era of bilateral cooperation as tremendous opportunities exist to further expand trade and economic relations between the two countries. In this regard, bilateral relations should be further strengthened at the level of chambers of commerce and industry as trade and commerce relations can be further boosted through the exchange of business delegations, he said.

“Delegations representing different walks of life including media, teachers, students, doctors and civil servants should be exchanged,” he added. He said the role of media is especially important for boosting mutual relations.

“The close contact and cooperation will further enhance bilateral relations besides helping to understand each other,” he added. He said that Punjab is an agrarian province and its economy is mostly based on agriculture. Pakistan and Nigeria can further improve their relations by reviewing opportunities of mutual cooperation in this area, he said.

Talking in the backdrop of menace of terrorism and extremism, Dr Askari said terrorism is a serious challenge for Pakistan and the international community. Pakistan and Nigeria — which has more than 50 percent Muslim population — are among 5 nations impacted most by terrorism, the Global Terrorism Index 2016 and 2017 show.

“Pakistan has bravely faced the menace of terrorism and the Armed Forces, law enforcement agencies as well as the police officials have written a new history of bravery by sacrificing their precious lives in this crusade. Nigeria is also facing the monster of extremism and I am of the opinion that both the countries are facing the challenge of changing the mindset for overcoming terrorism and extremism. Both countries can also benefit from each other’s experiences for eradicating terrorism and extremism,” he said, adding that terrorism and extremism can be routed by solving the socio-economic issues of the people and for that purpose; there is a need to give attention to creating new earning opportunities for the youth.

The Pakistan defense forces is already providing training and assistance in counterterrosim to Nigerian defense forces.

Dr. Askari said majority of population in Pakistan consists of the youth and therefore, providing better employment opportunities to them is a national obligation.

“I believe that Pakistani youth is highly talented and intelligent and they have proved their mettle at every occasion,” he added. “There is a need to take concrete steps by making the youth as skilled workforce to meet the needs of the market.”

Talking about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, Hassan Askari said Pakistan is providing the best connectivity and communication set-up from China to Gwadar through this project.

“Work is underway on industrial zones, power generation units, economic and communication projects in Pakistan and other countries can also benefit from the CPEC,” he said, adding that China has extended a wonderful investment package to Africa as well and this investment heralds the bright future for them.

He apprised the delegation about arrangements of holding free and fair elections in the province and added that all necessary steps are being taken for holding the elections on July 25 in a transparent and impartial manner. The voters will be provided peaceful atmosphere on polling day so that they could use their right of franchise independently. He said that all political parties are being provided equal opportunities for the elections and reiterated that caretaker government is taking all the necessary steps for holding of transparent and impartial elections. Peaceful holding of elections on July 25 is our responsibility which will be amicably performed,” concluded the chief minister.

Jonathan Mela Juma said that Pakistan is a wonderful country and the people are very affectionate and loving.

“Visiting Lahore is the most unforgettable and memorable experience and we are desirous to learn from the experiences of Pakistan in different fields including elimination of terrorism. We want further warmth in Pakistan-Nigerian relations and options of trade and economic cooperation in textile and other sectors will also be pondered over,” he concluded.

Resource-rich (oil, gas, iron ore, coal, metals) Nigeria recently became the country with the world’s highest number of people living in extreme poverty. It refers to people living on less than $1.90 a day.

Both Pakistan and Nigeria have huge youth bulge.

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