ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday for greater international cooperation to counter extremism and terrorism and stressed the need for capacity building of Pakistani security forces to counter the threat. Talking to Ms. Theresa May, British Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality who called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the President both Pakistan and the United Kingdom share a common enemy and have to work together against it.He said the democratic dispensation has evolved domestic consensus against the extremists elements and would take all measures to neutralize the threat.The President also appreciated the British assistance during the devastating floods and said Pakistan appreciates valuable assistance from the international community and its friends in this hour of distress. He also thanked the British Government and the British Prime Minister for advocating Pakistan’s case for getting access to EU markets.Matters related to Pak-UK bilateral relations and cooperation, strategic dialogue, fight against militancy, floods relief and rehabilitation works, trade access to EU for Pakistan’s goods, multifaceted collaboration between Pakistan and United Kingdom and various measures taken by the government for women development and empowerment were discussed during the meeting.
The President said Pakistan and the UK have longstanding relations based on shared interests and mutual respect. He emphasized the need to further strengthen strategic and cooperative ties between the two countries.On women empowerment in the country, the President said the democratic government accords top priority to empowerment of women with special emphasis to their welfare, equal rights and to ensure gender equality in the country.
He said the government has declared women beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) besides free distribution of state lands among them in the command areas of the new dams proposed to be built in the country.The enactment of the Protection against Harassment of Women Bill 2010 aims at creating a safe working environment for women, which was free from harassment, abuse and intimidation, he added.British Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality Ms. Theresa May assured British government’s continued support to the democratic dispensation in overcoming difficulties due to war against terrorism and the devastation caused by unprecedented floods.She lauded the contributions of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for empowerment of women and strengthening of democratic institution and appreciated that the government was following her legacy. She said that both Pakistan and UK need to work together for strengthening of democracy in the country.
Acknowledging the great sacrifices made by Pakistan in the war against militants, she said that UK would continue to support Pakistan in all sectors and at every forum to seek maximum support for the people of Pakistan.British High Commissioner Adam Thomson, Special Advisor Nick Timothy and other senior officials accompanied the British Home Secretary.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Minister for Narcotics Control Arbab Muhammad Zahir, Secretary General to the President Salman Faruqui, Advisor on Women Development Ms. Yasmeen Rehman, Senator Sughra Imam, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and other senior officials were present during the meeting. – App