Economy will be put on track by boosting trade: PM

* Gilani says govt wants to get rid of aid

* Urges foreign-based Pak journalists to improve country’s image abroad

LAHORE: Pakistan is consistently seeking access to American and European markets for trade, which means the country wants to get rid of aid and is determined to improving its economic health through enhanced global trade, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani asserted on Sunday while talking to a six-member delegation of the Pakistan Journalists’ Association, UK, headed by Tahir Chaudhry, at his residence.

The premier urged all foreign-based Pakistani journalists to play their effective roles in removing all misconceptions about Pakistan. He said Pakistan was simultaneously faced with a number of challenges amidst the war against terrorism and facing economic recession, while another disaster struck in the form of floods, which delayed the sensitisation of the world to realise Pakistan’s problems and destruction due to the calamity.

He appreciated the efforts of foreign-based Pakistani journalists for creating awareness among the Pakistani diaspora regarding flood victims, adding, “You have done a noble job and you should also make efforts to improve the country’s image in the committee of nations, particularly in the UK.”

Gilani said the government was following the same national strategy adopted for 2.5 million IDPs of Swat, for the rehabilitation of flood victims, adding that this internationally recognised strategy had proved a success.

Gilani added, “We have established the National Oversight Disaster Management Council in consultation with the provinces at the Council of Common Interest forum.” He said the federal government had shared the ownership of Watan Cards with the provinces to make it more authentic and credible.

The PM said the World Bank and Asian Development Bank would present their preliminary report on disaster-need assessment within a few days and the final version in this regard probably next month. He said the Pakistan Development Committee’s meeting had been convened for mid next month, in which all international donors and partners would make commitments according to the assessment report, which would provide information on how much foreign aid was needed. The donors were free to initiate flood relief projects on their own or donate to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund, he added.

Replying to a question by the delegates, Gilani said they always had great respect for the media and the PPP-led government maintained cordial relations with this vital pillar of the state. “We – politicians and media – have struggled together for restoration of democracy, rule of law and supremacy of parliament to make Pakistan a better place for people to live in,” he maintained.

To another question, he said Karachi was a mini Pakistan with multi-lingual and ethnic population and the government was taking all political parties and other stakeholders on board to ensure durable peace there.

Source: Daily Times