Islamabad: France Friday announced to provide civil nuclear technology to Pakistan. According to a Press statement, issued by President’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar from Paris, this decision was taken during a meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Ambassador Asma Anisa and Spokesperson of the President were also present on the occasion.
Further to this facility France also pledged to extend a 300 million Euro aid in economic assistance and another 12 million Euros for the rehabilitation of internally displaced persons in Pakistan along with a pledge to hammer out a Framework for Cooperation Agreement within the next three months that will comprehensively cover cooperation in the fields of energy including civilian nuclear power plants for peaceful purposes, trade, civil aviation and defence.
France deeply admires the determination of the government of Pakistan to root out militancy from the country, the French President said adding, “France totally supports you Mr. President and it is our determination to see Pakistan succeed”. France will not only directly support Pakistan but also seek the support of the international community to the economic and political stability of Pakistan, the French President said.
The spokespersons said that the French President assured President Zardari that at the forthcoming summit of the EU in Brussels he will seek to persuade the grouping to allow Pakistan greater market access to enable it stabilize its economy and provide jobs to its people. President Sarkozy said that he looked forward to the interlocutors from Pakistan and France meeting soon to hammer out a comprehensive framework of cooperation agreement before the fall this year.
Earlier the President of Pakistan Mr. Asif Ali Zardari explained to his French counterpart the steps taken by the government in rooting out militancy and the range of economic and political assistance it needed in this regard. Pakistan requires massive and immediate assistance in rehabilitating the internally displaced persons (IDPs) displaced from Swat and other areas as a result of the fight against militants. Poverty, lack of education and homelessness provided breeding grounds for extremism and the world must come forward in helping Pakistan, President Zardari said.
“We need trade and not aid, the President said adding”, We also need international assistance in broadening and strengthening our educational base, He said that the over 17,000 madrassahs in Pakistan provided free education, shelter and food to the children of poor families. Some of the political madrassah had also been imparting lessons in extremism and militancy. To counter it the President said that Pakistan needed to provide free education to its children. This alone, the President said, had been calculated to cost nearly two billion dollars a year.
President Zardari also emphasized the importance of strengthening the civilian law enforcing agencies by providing it with weapons, transport, bomb proof police stations and better pay scales to fight the militants who were better and far better paid by their masters. He said that the government envisaged recruiting another 20,000 special police for each province in addition to the existing police force which was not possible without international support. The President said that the government had information that that the militants paid to their fighters 60 dollars a day. The government planned to pay its special police force about 300 dollars a month which would require international support.
President Zardari said that the fight against militancy now had political ownership as well. He said that the Parliament had set up a national security committee which had also adopted a unanimous resolution. Under the dictatorship there was no political ownership but now there was a broad based consensus behind the fight against militancy.