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The Future of Asia 2012

Pakistan Foreign Minister Seeks Japan Investment

Friday, May 25, 2012

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, speaking at an international symposium on Friday, sought more investment and trade with Japan, and demanded "respect" from the U.S. and its allies for its sacrifices in combatting terrorism in the region.

At the annual Future of Asia conference in Tokyo, Khar expressed gratitude for Japan's investment in Pakistan. "Japanese assistance is in areas where the Pakistanis need it," she said. "It is in infrastructure. Whether it is roads, in tunnels, or whether it is in children's hospitals, Japanese investments always have an impact on our people's lives." In the future, Khar said Pakistan most hoped to receive assistance in the energy sector.

"We do not ask for aid, we ask for preferential market access," Khar said regarding trade with Japan, adding such market access would help alleviate Pakistan's suffering over the last decade, and help the country get back on its feet.

The foreign minister also touched on U.S.-Pakistan relations, saying, "As an international partner, is it not appropriate to expect some remorse for the loss of life?" referring to a U.S. air strike that killed 24 Pakistani troops inside the country's borders last November.

Khar said that since the beginning of the U.S.-led wars in the Middle East and South Asia, 30,000 Pakistani citizens had been killed, as well as 6,000 of the country's troops. Khar estimated the total cost to Pakistan of the conflict at $70 billion.

"We expect to be shown some respect for the sacrifices the people of Pakistan have made for the international effort," Khar said. "We all need to get together to develop a system that can work" to bring peace to the region, she said.

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.