ISLAMABAD  -   Pakistan Wednesday invited Japanese investment in the Special Economic Zones under the multi-billion-dollars China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

In a meeting with National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister of Japan Kentaro Sonoura here, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan will provide facilities to the Japanese investors in all sectors.

Briefing the Japanese side on CPEC, an economic undertaking between China and Pakistan, the Foreign Minister invited Japanese investment in SEZs, said a foreign ministry statement.

Welcoming Kentaro Sonoura, the Foreign Minister said that Pakistan regarded Japan as a close friend and a key economic partner.

Pak-Japan bilateral trade currently stands at around $2.3 billion with Japan’s exports to Pakistan recorded at $2.03 billion against the latter’s exports to the former at $250 million.

This year, Pakistan’s exports to Japan declined 1.18 per cent. Japan’s overall import from the world increased to $57.662 billion in June from $55.632 billion in June last year, up 11.7 per cent.

The Japanese National Security Advisor expressed his earnest desire to further strengthen bilateral relations between Pakistan and Japan in the days to come, said the foreign ministry.

He said that Japan recognised the efforts and sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in fight against the menace of terrorism.

Foreign Minister Qureshi appreciated Japan’s acknowledgement of sacrifices and contributions made by Pakistan in the global fight against terrorism and Japan’s commitment to work closely with Pakistan in this regard.

He reiterated that Pakistan was focusing on socio-economic uplift of the people of Pakistan and furthering regional peace and stability.

Both countries expressed firm resolve to further increase high level interaction between the two countries. They exchanged ideas on enhancing cooperation in political, defence, economic and commercial sectors. The Foreign Minister welcomed the upcoming sixth round of Joint Government Business Dialogue scheduled to be held on December 10 in Tokyo and hoped for concrete outcome of the meeting.

Meanwhile, Simon Milner, Vice President Public Policy Asia Pacific of Facebook called on Foreign Minister Qureshi, here yesterday.

The Foreign Minister welcomed Milner to his first ever visit to Pakistan. FM Qureshi lauded the role of Facebook for development and progress of e-commerce in Pakistan, its contributions in facilitating people to people contacts across the globe and for spreading awareness among the masses.

Foreign Minister Qureshi further underscored that the “use of social media presents us with both opportunities and challenges.” Qureshi said that his government firmly believed in the right to freedom of expression. “However, it cannot be used to propagate hate and extremist ideologies,” he added.

The minister emphasised that it should not be used to hurt the sentiments of adherents of any religion. “All efforts must be aimed at preventing the spread of this content through social media that leads to hatred and intolerance,” Qureshi said.  He highlighted the Indian clamp down on internet and social media in occupied Jammu and Kashmir which was serving to conceal the facts of brutal suppression by the forces of occupation.

Vice President Simon Milner said that Facebook remained cognizant of its social responsibility and expressed his desire to work with the government of Pakistan “to make efforts in addressing concerns about the use of social media for spreading hateful, provocative and extremist views.”