ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has asked the World Bank to focus on provision of improved health and education facilities to the people at the grassroots level to help tackle poverty, one of the root causes of terrorism. He was taking to Managing Director of the World Bank Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who called on him in Islamabad on Friday.
The Prime Minister said that Pakistan has the will and the ability to fight the war against terrorism, but lacks in capacity. It expects the world to work on building the capacity of our law enforcement agencies, particularly those responsible for maintaining law and order at the grassroots level.
He said the government has adopted a strategy of isolating militants from the peaceful people in the tribal areas as well as Swat but attacks from outside Pakistan reunite them thus proving counterproductive.
About Afghanistan the Prime Minister said that Pakistan is having excellent relations with the Karzai government but expressed concern over increased poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. He said that there is credible evidence that drug money is finding its way to terrorists in Pakistan.
The Prime Minister said the government is focusing on improving law and order situation in the country as suicide bombings and bomb blasts have adverse affect on the economy.
He said the government has also taken steps to improve the power situation in the country and in addition to encouraging new power plants and importing energy from Iran; alternate energy sources are also being tapped.
He said common man in Pakistan is very concerned that the united forces of the world have not been able to achieve the desired results in Afghanistan in more than five years so how Pakistan, which has already sacrificed much more than the multi-national NATO and ISAF forces is still being expected to do more. He said that peace and prosperity of the world is linked with the stability and prosperity of Pakistan.
The Prime Minister expressed the confidence that the Friends of Democratic Pakistan Forum would open new vistas of economic assistance, and investment in Pakistan, in the coming months, allowing the country to meet the challenges it is currently faced with.
The Prime Minister also said the government of Pakistan expects that the US government after its transition phase is over would expedite the Kerry-Luger Bill and Reconstruction Opportunities Zones in tribal areas.
He thanked the World Bank for supporting the Benazir Income Support program under which 3.4 billion people would be provided relief worth 34 billion rupees.
He said Pakistan is looking forward to increased support from the World Bank in the development and infrastructure sectors. He also appreciated the Bank for considering supporting Pakistan in developing the North-South Trade corridor which would include building of rail, road and allied infrastructure.
He also lauded World Bank’s indication to disburse approximately 500 million dollars as budgetary support by the end of June this year. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala appreciated the fiscal and monetary discipline maintained by the government and congratulated the Prime Minister on the targets achieved by them so far.-SANA