Militancy, economy major challenges, says PM

nawaz-sharif-mahinda-rajapaksa2013-11-17

COLOMBO: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that PML-N government is committed to introducing a long-term strategy for sustained and inclusive growth by providing equal opportunities to all Pakistanis.

He was addressing the first executive session of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting here on Friday on the theme of “Growth and Equity: Inclusive Development”.

The prime minister noted that equitable development was one of the most significant contemporary challenges confronting the world at large and the Commonwealth in particular.

He said Pakistan was faced with challenges of weak economy, poverty, acute energy shortages, successive natural calamities and rising militancy, and assured the meeting that his government was determined to address these issues urgently and simultaneously. The aspirations and dynamism of people had strengthened his resolve to steer Pakistan towards a new and bright future, he added.

The prime minister announced a $100,000 special donation for the newly established Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC). The contribution is intended to fund youth-led development projects of the CYC in its early years.

The council was launched during the 9th Commonwealth Youth Forum. The newly established autonomous body would serve as the representative voice of 1.2 billion young people in Commonwealth and provide a framework for youth-led development initiatives. The government of Sri Lanka has offered to host the secretariat of CYC.

Earlier, speaking on the agenda item relating to “Climate Change Financing”, Mr Sharif said climate change was a defining reality of our time and called for a multi-pronged and revitalised global partnership for generating the needed financing to confront its effects.

He proposed formation of global policies to motivate the private sector, enhanced availability of grants and soft loans to the public sector and early operationalisation of the “Green Climate Fund”.

Mr Sharif attended the opening ceremony of the summit along with other heads of government. He attended the lunch hosted by Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, for a select group of Commonwealth heads and also held bilateral meetings with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa and New Zealand’s Premier John Key.

During his meeting with Mr Key on Saturday, Mr Sharif emphasised the need for enhanced trade and investment between Pakistan and New Zealand.

He invited New Zealand’s investors to invest in power generation, infrastructure development, housing, mining, oil and gas, information technology, agriculture and dairy farming sectors in Pakistan.

In this regard, he highlighted the need for opening of New Zealand High Commission in Islamabad.

The two leaders also discussed the regional situation.

Prime Minister Key extended an invitation to Prime Minister Sharif to visit New Zealand at his convenience.

During his meeting with President Rajapaksa, Mr Sharif offered that Pakistan’s government or its private sector could set up sugar mills in Sri Lanka.—APP

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