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Friday, January 8, 2010

PM terms screening of Pakistani nationals in US discriminatory

SLAMABAD, Jan 08 : Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, while highlighting the economic cost of around US $ 35 billion borne by Pakistan in the war against terrorism, in the past eight years, has called upon the US to help the Government of Pakistan revive its economy, which currently is its top priority.

The Prime Minister underlined the need for the provision of greater market access to Pakistan under GSP Plus arrangements, use of Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and other US mechanisms for encouraging its investors to invest in energy, infrastructure, agriculture and water sectors to assist government of Pakistan’s endeavours to boost the economy.

He was talking to the US Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain, which called on him at the PM’s House Friday morning.

The Prime Minister expressed his serious reservations on the new security measures introduced by the US government for screening Pakistani nationals in the United States and termed them discriminatory.

He stated that such policies cause consternation and anxiety among the people of Pakistan and their continuity can negatively impact the bilateral ties. The Prime Minister urged the US government to revisit this policy and asked for immediate removal of Pakistan from the list of the countries affected by it.

The Prime Minister also expressed his concerns over the delay in reimbursement of the mounting outstanding amount on account of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) to Pakistan which by December, 2009 had crossed the limit of US $ 2 billion.

He said this inordinate delay in receipt of payments from the US is affecting its campaign against terrorism. He stressed that the disbursement issue of CSF Fund must not be linked with any other issue and the overdue payments to Pakistan must be made on fast-track basis.

Prime Minister reiterated his government’s disappointment over the continuing drone attacks and persisting reluctance of the US to share drone technology with Pakistan to enable it to take on the terror centers in its border areas itself.

Senator John McCain paid tribute to the Prime Minister and the Government of Pakistan for their resolute and steadfast commitment against the evil forces of terrorism and lauded Pakistan Armed Forces’ successes in the Malakand and South Waziristan operations.INP

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