PR No.204

Pakistan, RI work to repair misconceptions of Islam
November 22, 2010

Pakistan and Indonesia will work closely to fight terrorism and promote interfaith dialogue in an attempt to portray the peaceful and friendly face of Islam, the visiting Pakistani foreign minister said.

Both countries have also committed to expand relations in the economic, political and defense sectors while uniting their position to respond to regional and global issues, such as climate change and maritime security.

After talks with his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa on Friday and Saturday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi told The Jakarta Post in an interview Saturday that many parts of the world still clung to a distorted image of Islam that gave both countries a bad name.

“[We] both express interests of promoting interfaith dialogue so that we can project the right image of Islam, not the distorted version that gives Islam and our countries a bad name,” Qureshi, who also paid a courtesy call on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Friday, said.

Indonesia and Pakistan formed a joint working group on counterterrorism, with officials from both countries scheduled to meet next month in Jakarta to help eradicate terrorism.

Pakistan will also attend the Bali Democracy Forum, an international dialogue among democratic countries that is growing in prominence, with both US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard acknowledging it recently as an important gathering to reduce tension among nations.

During his meetings with Marty and Yudhoyono, Qureshi also received Indonesia’s full support for Pakistan to become a full dialogue partner to ASEAN, joining the region’s other major nations, such as China, Japan, South Korea, India and Australia.

By becoming a full dialogue partner of the 10 member group, Pakistan could become part of the vibrant community of East Asia, a region that has become a source of global economic growth, with even the US and Russia recently taking part.

 At the bilateral level, Pakistan has become Indonesia’s partner in a wide range of areas, including trade and agriculture while a defense cooperation agreement was signed last July.

“During our meetings, we looked at different ways of expanding economic cooperation,” Qureshi said.

He added that one example was the plantation and agriculture cooperation through which Pakistan could import palm oil while Indonesia could purchase rice.

Indonesia is the biggest producer of palm oil while we have a surplus of rice. So we can purchase palm oil while [Indonesia] imports rice as we know Indonesia is building a buffer stock of rice,” he said.

On resolving the conflict in Afghanistan, Qureshi said his country was committed to finding the best solution to the problem, including supporting the efforts by the Afghan government to engage the Taliban in a dialogue.

“The world has acknowledged the sacrifice by Pakistan to create a stable Afghanistan. Pakistan is very supportive of a reconciliation process and reintegration of Afghanistan. There have been very positive developments so far. The international community also acknowledges Pakistan’s idea of regional outlook on [issues surrounding] Afghanistan,” he said.

Qureshi said Indonesia could play a greater role in Afghanistan and the Middle East through deeper involvement within the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), of which both countries are members. “There is a growing view that the OIC can play a greater role in those issues, and Indonesia is a very important member of the OIC,” he said.

“There is a growing view that the OIC can play a greater role in those issues, and Indonesia is a very important member of the OIC,” he said, says a press release received heretoday from Indonesia.


PR No.205

November 22, 2010

Minister of State for Railways Chaudhry Muhammad Afzal Sandhu Monday contradicted a news item published in different sections of press, describing it as incorrect and baseless.

According to the news item the State Minister will address a public gathering in connection with the Yaum-e-Tasees of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) at Lahore on November 28.

Mr. Afzal Sandhu clarified that he has no association with this group so linking him with any such event is irrational. He would not address any such gathering and the concerned news report is fabricated and baseless.


PR No.206
Ambassador of
Tajikistan calls on the Prime Minister
November 22, 2010

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that he is keenly looking forward to his meetings with the Tajik President and the Prime Minister to discuss the whole gamut of bilateral relations during his forthcoming visit to Dushanbe to attend the SCO Heads of Government Summit. The Prime Minister said that Pakistan attaches very high importance to its bilateral ties with Tajikistan and wishes to expand the cooperation in defence, intelligence sharing, energy and power sectors through concerted efforts of both sides.

The Prime Minister was talking to Ambassador of Tajikistan, Dr. Zubaydullo N. Zubaydov who called on him at the Prime Minister’s House here today.

The Prime Minister emphasized the importance which Pakistan attaches to the implementation of trilateral Transit Trade Agreement with Afghanistan and Tajikistan and the connectivity between the two fraternal countries through construction of road link between Chitral via Wakhan strip to Tajikistan to promote trade and economic ties.

The Tajik Ambassador briefed the Prime Minister on the SCO Summit programme, the attendance by the leaders of SCO members’ observers and guests’ status countries in the Summit meeting. He also apprised the Prime Minister about scheduling of his interaction with the Tajik leadership.


 PR No.207
Norwegian Minister for International Development and Environment calls on the Prime Minister

November 22, 2010

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani appreciated the Norwegian assistance particularly in the humanitarian field and for the flood affectees of Pakistan. He specially commended the efforts of the Royal family and the political leadership of Norway for generating funds for the flood victims in Pakistan.

The Prime Minister was talking to Norwegian Minister for Environment and International Development, Mr. Erik Solhmein who called on him at the Prime Minister’s House here today.

The Prime Minister termed Norway as an important country for Pakistan bilaterally as well as in the context of Nordic region and expressed his government’s keen desire to work closely with the Norwegian government for further strengthening of bilateral cooperation in energy, infrastructure, fisheries and communication sectors.

The Prime Minister stated that unprecedented floods in Pakistan had caused climatic devastation throughout the country and his government‘s first priority still remains to provide shelter to the displaced people on urgent basis. He said that it was a matter of satisfaction for his government that the disbursement of first installment of Rs. 20,000/- to the flood affectees in Punjab has been completed in a very transparent way and the efforts were afoot to fast track the completion of this process in other provinces. He underlined the fact that the process of disbursement was being supervised by the National Oversight Disaster Management Council (NODMC) created through consensus of the epic body of Council of Common Interest. He added that the donor countries like Norway should provide their assistance through Pakistan’s established institutions to help his government carry out the second phase of disbursement of Rs. 80,000/-  to the flood affected families in the immediate future.

The Prime Minister also apprised the Norwegian Minister for Environment and International Development about the measures being taken by his government to rehabilitate the flood affected agriculture sector through provision of free seeds and fertilizer to them. 

The Prime Minister stated that despite the huge negative impact on Pakistan economy by this natural calamity, his government has remained steadfast in its commitment to fight terrorism and to introduce the economic reforms particularly widening of tax base in the country to generate local resources. Besides his government, he said, has restored the constitution to strengthen democratic institutions in the country and promote democratic culture by taking along all the political stakeholders.

The Prime Minister also emphasized upon need for enhanced cooperation between the two sides in environment sector through technical cooperation to offset the negative consequences of climate change in the calamity prone South Asian region.

The Prime Minister appreciated Norway’s constructive role in the ongoing international fora on climate change and environmental issues in which the interest of developing countries must be protected, he said.

Mr. Erik Solhmein congratulated the Prime Minister on his personal efforts to develop democratic culture in the country through building the consensus and promoting human rights, specially women rights in Pakistan. While recognizing the difficulties faced by his government, the Norwegian Minister for International Development commended the government of Pakistan’s resolve to expand the tax base in the country which, he said, would greatly help the donor countries to convince their parliaments for assisting Pakistan.

He welcomed the fact that the Speaker of National Assembly would soon be leading a parliamentary delegation to Norway which in his view would pave the way for enhanced people to people contact and help create better understanding of each others positions on bilateral as well as international issues.

The Norwegian Minister commended the role of Pakistani community in Norway which, he said, was the largest foreign community in his country, in contributing towards Norway’s development as well as working as a bridge between the two sides.

Federal Minister for Environment, Mr. Hameedullah Jan Afridi, Minister of State for Finance & Economic Affairs Division, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Secretaries for Environment, Economic Affairs Division and Foreign Affairs were also present during the meeting.


PR No.208

Pakistan is Rich of Natural Habitats ….Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi

Legal Frame-Work Needed to Get Benefit from This Natural Wealth
Government Focusing to Encourage Research of Genetic Resources

Foreign Exchange
Will be Utilized in Social Up-Lift and Developmental Sectors ….Environment Minister
November 22, 2010

Federal Minister for Environment Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi has said that legal frame- work is being made for research and usage of natural habitats in medical and other related fields. The revenue would be utilized for social up-lift of related areas. He said that government is focusing to encourage research activities in this important sector. He expressed these views while chairing a high level meeting here today.

DIG (Forest) Abdul Munaf Qaim Kawani, MD ENERCON, Fareed Ullah Kahn, DG, EPA Asif Shuja Khan, Joint Secretary (International Cooperation) Abid Ali and Technical Officer, Biodiversity Rizwan Irshad present during the meeting.

Environment Minister said that several kinds of genetic resources and natural habitats are existing in different parts of the country and huge foreign exchange can be earned through appropriate research and utilization of these precious resources.  Federal Minister highlighted that proper legislation is being made through which foreign institutions would be allowed to take part in exploration and research activities. In this response, adequate revenue would be generated which would be utilized for the betterment and social development of those areas, he added.

Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi further said that Ministry of Environment is focusing on this important issue and in recent tenth session of Conference of Parties, various matters regarding this subject were discussed in detail. Moreover, a protocol would be signed very soon and an international law would be promulgated according to which research and transaction process would be made through proper permission at government level. He advised concerned authorities to finalize necessary documentation and other formalities in this regard on priority basis.


PR No.209
Pakistani mangoes will reach Japanese markets from next season. Investment also promised in dairy development and
horticulture. Nazar M. Gondal

November 22, 2010

Federal minister for Food & Agriculture, Nazar M. Gondal said that it is extremely encouraging that Pakistani mangoes will arrive into Japanese markets from next season.

The minister was talking to an eight member delegation of Japanese Agriculturists belonging to renowned Japanese agriculture cooperative organization (JA) being led by Mr. Yasuhiro Nakagawa, Vice Chairman JA Japan and president JA Group, Kyoto Prefecture.

“We have ample business and investment opportunities for the Japanese investors in Pakistan. We are the world’s fourth largest milk producer and technology to produce by- products from milk would prove extremely beneficial for the Japanese investors. We offer a business conducive environment and opportunities with simple procedures to enter into business deals.”, said the minister in his introductory remarks.

Mr. Yasuhiro Nakagawa said that JA Group is involved in the farmers’ security through credit and insurance policies and marketing their products. He added that the group also deals in providing the latest farm machinery which makes it to be the biggest group of its kind in Japan. “We are ready to shift our technology and invest in Pakistan. I have already announced in Japan before my departure that Pakistani mangoes will come into Japanese markets from the next season”, added the Mr. Nakagawa.

Mr. Gondal said that Pakistan has the third largest number of animals in the world which provides an excellent opportunity for value addition to milk and processing halal meat that has an enormous market the world over. We are the fourth largest exporter of dates by exporting only 13% of the production (0.567 million tons). It could be greatly enhanced through the introduction of modern processing and packaging technology. Technology to process and make juices from citrus and mangoes is another potential area for investment.

Mr. Nakagawa assured that he would take concrete and practical step to establish a long lasting business relationship with Pakistan. He said that the group has already established business models in dairy products in Australia and would replicate the same here in Pakistan.

The meeting was also attended by secretary, additional secretary and other high officials of Minfa and representatives from Board of Investment (BOI).


PR No.210

Islamabad, November 22, 2010

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has appointed Mr. Hamid Yar Hiraj, MNA as the Chairman Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) after the resignation of Mr. M. Saleem Altaf as Chairman ERRA on personal grounds and which was accepted by the Prime Minister.

Mr. Hamid Yar Hiraj, MNA is holding Master Degrees in Finance from the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania and in Tax Law from California State University San Francisco, USA. Previously he held the portfolios of as MOS for EAD, Health and Commerce.

Mr. Hamid Yar Hiraj would serve as the Chairman ERRA on honourary basis.

In a meeting with the newly appointed and the outgoing Chairmen ERRA separately, at PM’s House here this afternoon, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that keeping in view the important function of the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of the Earthquake affected areas, the new incumbent would utilize all his abilities to carry forward the government’s reconstruction agenda in these areas. He asked the new Chairman to maximize the level of coordination and transparency as maintained by the Authority.

The Prime Minister also appreciated the services of outgoing Chairman ERRA. Mr. Saleem Altaf thanked the Prime Minister for his continued support during the discharge of his official duties.  


PR No.211

Pakistan keen to expand cultural cooperation with
China: Jilani
Islamabad, November 22, 2010

Federal Minister for Culture, Pir Aftab Shah Jilani has said that Pakistan is keen to further expand cultural cooperation with China both in traditional forms like handicrafts, music and theatre as well as hi-tech cultural forms like graphic designing and multimedia production.

He was talking to Mr. Zhang Zeguang, Vice Mayor of Nanjing, here this afternoon.

The Minister said the relations between Pakistan and China are deeper than oceans and higher than mountains. He said the government of Pakistan is keen to further cement this relationship in all fields.

Mr. Zhang briefed the Minister about the agenda of the cultural cooperation forum. He also informed him about the rich cultural heritage of Nanjing, which has served as China’s capital for six dynasties on various occasions from the 3rd century to the middle of the 20th century.

Mr. Khalid Javed, Executive Director of Lok Virsa was also present during the meeting.

Earlier, the Minister arrived at this historic city this morning to attend the “Nanjing Forum on Cultural Industry Cooperation among SCO Member States.”

The Minister also attended the opening ceremony of the Forum and the welcome banquet hosted by the Vice Mayor in honour of the visiting delegates, says a press release received heretoday from China.


PR No.212

Islamabad, November 22, 2010

According to a latest government decision in the wake of ongoing power sector reforms’ execution, and till the notification for the reconstitution of new Board of Directors of Power Distribution / Generation and Transmission Companies, the existing BODs will cease to function immediately. The new boards are being finalized and will be notified as soon as possible.

As part of the ongoing Power Sector Reforms, the Government of Pakistan has decided to reconstitute all the Boards of Directors of Power Distribution & Generation / Transmission Companies along professional lines in accordance with the guidelines of the Cabinet Committee on Reforms (CCOR), with special emphasis on representation from consumers. The CCOR guidelines state that the size of the proposed BODs may range between 8 to 10 members. The proposed names of BOD Members of Power Distribution & Generation Companies must contain a right mix of government and private sector professionals with a greater leaning towards the private sector. Regional balance will be observed in the nominations to the Boards.

Gender balance will be maintained while making nominations to the Boards. The nominees may also reflect a balance in the age of the nominees to the BODs, with a view to grooming a second generation of private sector persons. At least one member on the BODs should be a young private sector individual with potential to make his mark in the future. Nominations from the private sector should be made considering the ability of the nominee to devote time.

Ministers/Secretaries/Government officials will not be nominated as Chairmen of the BODs. The office of Chairman BODs and CEO shall be kept separate. Representation from the administrative Ministry / Division on the BODs of Private Sector Entities should be restricted to one. The CEOs and one other executive (Head of Finance) of the PSE will be included in the BODs.

PR No.213
Islamabad, November 22, 2010

Prime Minister Syed Yusaf Raza Gilani called on President Asif Ali Zardari at Aiwan-e-Sadr today.

Ameer JUI (F) Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman also joined them during the meeting.

Current situation in the country and the coalition matters were discussed during the meeting.


PR No.214

Islamabad, November 22, 2010

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani talked to the Ministers for Religious Affairs and Science and Technology over telephone this morning and asked them to refrain from statements as an enquiry has already been initiated that would fix the responsibilities regarding malpractices in the Hajj arrangements.


PR No.215

Islamabad, November 22, 2010

Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs & Gilgit Baltistan Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo visited the house of Mr. Miraj Din, Father in Law of Chief Minister Punjab and offered his condolences with the aggrieved family in Lahore. He also offered fateha for the deceased. There after, he visited Mr. Mushahid Hussain Syed and condoled with him and his family and express grief over the sudden death of his mother. Federal Minister also recited fateha, that May her soul rest in eternal peace.


PR No.216

Islamabad, November 22, 2010

President Zardari has advised the Government that while adopting Public Private Partnership mode for the privatization of the state-owned entities, effort should be made to raise bulk of equity through stock exchanges so as to create wealth for the people and small investors. The purpose of adopting Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode was to blend national assets with private capital and entrepreneurship in such a manner that optimized the use of national assets on the one hand and protected the interests of consumers, workers and investors on the other.

This he said during a meeting on privatization proposals at Aiwan-e-Sadr today jointly chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusaf Raza Gilani.

The meting was attended by Mr. Waqar Ahmed Khan, Federal Minister for Privatization, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Federal Minister for Water & Power, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Mr. Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Minister for Railway, Mr. M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Mr. Shahid Hafeez Kardar, Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Secretaries of Finance and Privatization divisions and Spokesperson to the President Mr. Farhatullah Babar besides other officials.

The meeting deliberated upon various proposals to rejuvenate the state-owned entities and to take forward Government’s economic reforms agenda through privatization. Various proposals for turn around of the loss making state entities through restructuring and financial and operational reforms were also discussed during the meeting.

The President said that the Government envisages private sector as the engine for the economic growth and for the generation of much needed employment in the country. This, he said, was only possible when the private sector plays a dominant role in the economic sphere. The policies of privatization, deregulation and liberalization were aimed at economic recovery by enabling the private sector take leading role for the rejuvenation of the ailing economy.

The meeting asked the State Bank Governor to prepare a plan for restructuring and turn around of Pakistan Railway for the consideration of the cabinet.


PR No.217

Islamabad, November 22, 2010

The international community should support democratic government of Pakistan politically and economically in its fight against terrorism which is a world wide phenomena effecting the whole international community. This was stated by the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi during his meeting with the Singapore’s Foreign Minister Mr. George Yeo.

The Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister of Singapore Mr. Geroge Yeo in his office on 22 November 2010. The two sides discussed bilateral, political, regional and international issues and underlined the importance of expanding economic cooperation between the two countries

He further said Pakistan is a Sectoral Partner of ASEAN since 1997. Pakistan has sincere desire to enhance its political, economic, cultural cooperation with ASEAN and would work with ASEAN countries to become its full dialogue partner. This is a part of Pakistan vision East Asia Policy. 

The Foreign Minister particularly mentioned that Pakistan wants peaceful and cooperative relationship with India. The two nuclear power in South Asia have no other option but to resolve even outstanding issues through meaningful and constructive dialogues. Peace is in the interest of both the countries as well as the whole region. 

Later, while addressing the academicians and business leaders the Foreign Minister said Pakistan and Singapore have enjoyed friendly relations over many decades and we look forward to further strengthening our political, economic and cultural ties.

Mr. Qureshi admired the progress made by Singapore on all sectors and that it has recovered itself from the global financial crisis. Singapore is a country respected for its political and economic achievements and sustainability. It is a country which consistently re-inventing itself as a financial transshipment and technological hub.

 Mr. Qureshi said Pakistan is faced by gigantic task of rehabilitation and reconstruction of its extensively damaged infrastructure due to devastating floods. Without the assistance of its friends in the international community, this task can not be achieved. He said that the government of Pakistan is determined to help the affected people, with all its resources, in re-building their lives. Pakistan economy is resilient and so are its people who are determined to come out of this unprecedented disaster.

He also informed the audience that Pakistan is already on the road to sustained political and economic development, providing a conducive and attractive environment for foreign investors. We are confident that significant improvement in economic fundamentals coupled with consistency and transparency of policies would now lead to a higher inflow of foreign investment. The main thrust of our policy is to restore investors’ confidence regarding security of capital, profitability of business and establishment of the necessary infrastructure that would facilities business operations in the country. 

The Foreign Minister also called on Senior Minister of Singapore Mr. Goh Chok Tong in the ceremonial hall at the Istana, the Presidential Palace. They exchanged views on ways to enhance economic cooperation between Pakistan and Singapore. Mr. Goh recalled his visit to Pakistan as Prime Minister of Singapore in 2004. Expressing his confidence that Pakistan would in future deepen its relationship with ASEAN.  

Pakistan had an inherent advantage due to its geographical situation as a grid country for connectivity between ASEAN the greater region of Central, West and South Asia and the Western Chinese Region. This was emphasized by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi while stating that there was a renewed desire on Pakistan part to engage with the East.  Mr. Goh in response advised Pakistan’s private sector was to make an aggressive and sustained effort to build the trade volume with Singapore. The potential for investment by Singapore will follow automatically. The Senior Minister candidly acknowledged that despite its consistent efforts to fight terrorists, Pakistan continues to receive negative press.  

The most important achievement of the democratic government of Pakistan, the Foreign Minister informed the Senior Minster was the conversion of the public opinion against the terrorists. But no country in the region can fight terrorism alone. He called on all countries to cooperate with one another to remove this scrooge.


PR No.218
Islamabad, November 22, 2010

The 21st century is the Asian Century. There has been tectonic shift of global attention to Asia, due to its phenomenal economic development. Major Asian countries represent develop at emerging markets. Although the global financial crisis has had adverse impact on many economies, the current moment of global recovery is centered on Asia. This was stated by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi while giving a lecture on “Pakistan in the Next Decade, Prospects and Challenges” at RSIS, Singapore.

The Foreign Minister emphasized that Pakistan wishes to become a partner with South East Asia in realizing the vision and dreams of the Asian Century. ASEAN as a dynamic regional forum has transformed South-east Asia to a fast growing region. Its leadership has displayed a credible political determination and will, to build strong and vibrant economies. He further stated that the contours of Pakistan’s “Vision East Asia” Policy of 1990s have taken concrete shape over the years. We have forged bilateral and multilateral ties with South East Asia and the Pacific Region.

The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was invited by The S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) to deliver a talk on Pakistan in the Next Decade, Prospects and Challenges. RSIS exists to development a community of scholars and policy analysts at the forefront of Asia-Pacific security studies and international affairs. Its three core functions are research, graduate teaching and networking activities in the Asia-Pacific region. It produces cutting-edge security related research in Asia-Pacific Security, Conflict and Non-Transitional Security, International Political Economy, and country and Area Studies.

The Foreign Minister stressed that Pakistan’s “Vision East Asia” policy is not driven by economic impulses only. That, of course, one of the most important imperatives. But more significantly, it is driven by Pakistan’s policy commitment to play a constructive and meaningful role, at various regional levels, particularly in South and South East Asia. He added that we look forward to a deepening of our ties with ASEAN, through a Full Dialogue Partnership, and signing of a Free Trade Agreement with ASEAN in the near future.

Prof. Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Singapore of RSIS introduced the Foreign Minister to the well-attended audience of the Ambassadors, High Commissioners of various countries, intellectuals, students and media persons. 

PR No.219

November 22, 2010

President Asif Ali Zardari has decided to confer Sitara-e- Imtiaz (Civil) posthumously on renowned film actor Late Waheed Murad in recognition of his meritorious services and contributions to the Pakistan Film industry and promotion of art and culture in the country.

The decision was made as a token of tribute to illustrious and legendary late Waheed Murad on the occasion of his 27th death anniversary falling on 23rd November.