Pakistan for free trade agreement with EU: Zardari

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari  has said that Pakistan looks forward for a comprehensive free trade Agreement with the European Union and a solid, multidimensional and comprehensive partnership with the international community and just not the donor-recipient relationship.This he said during a dinner meeting with the ambassadors of some FoDP countries at Aiwan-e-Sadr on Saturday night.The ambassadors present during the dinner included among others Daniel Jouanneau of France, Ali Saif Sultan Al Awani of UAE, Chihiro Atsumi of Japan, Mustafa Babur Hizlan of Turkey, Adam Thomson of United Kingdom and Choi Choong-Joo of Korea.Ambassador Ms. Robin Raphel, Coordinator for E&D Assistance USA and Engin Soysal, UNSGR were also present.
Talking with the Ambassadors, the President said that war against terror on one hand and the recent devastating floods on the other have created a situation that needs to be addressed through a joint effort.“Hardly had our economy started showing signs of recovery when it was hit hard by the recent calamity,” he said adding this was a situation that no country could handle on its own without proactive assistance from the international community.The President said the government is thankful to United Nations and other friends who pleaded their case and invited the attention of the international community towards countless miseries of the people of Pakistan.The President said, “we owe our gratitude to all those who stepped forward and contributed towards mitigating the sufferings of the people in distress.”

Discussing the flood situation and rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, the President said that the government is mobilizing all available domestic resources including imposition of a one time flood tax on the well to do people in order to generate indigenous resources.He said that the Sindh Government was already working on legislation for one time flood tax in consultation with the coalition partners and the stakeholders.
But simultaneously, he said, Pakistan looks forward to continuing assistance of the international community, especially the countries of the European Union.Welcoming Summit level dialogues with the European Union, the President said Pakistan desires to have a comprehensive partnership and that the Summit level interaction should be on a regular basis rather than ad-hoc. The President said that there was a need to institutionalize the interaction.Talking about militancy, the President said that it was a global and regional issue and all the countries of the world particularly countries in the region must cooperate in fighting the militants. He said that blame game does not and will not help.He said that concerted efforts with sincerity and trust needed to be undertaken not only to bring the culprits to justice but also to neutralize any ambition of the stateless actors.

The President reiterating his call for creating opportunities for the people especially those who were the worst sufferers of the scourge of militancy and said that the socio-economic development was sine qua non for winning the battle of hearts and minds.“This calls for assistance from the international community and especially the friends so that we are able to offer vistas of opportunities to the affected people, he added.The President said that Pakistan has institutional capabilities to overcome its problems.“We have an assertive Parliament, an independent Judiciary and a free media.
The people, the President noted, have demonstrated great resilience in the face of adversities; whether militancy or floods.  They need to be helped, he said.Chairman Senate Farooq H. Naik, Speaker National Assembly Dr.  Fehmida Mirza, Ms. Faryal Talpur, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim, M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, BISP Chairperson Ms. Farzana Raja were also present on the occasion besides Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir – App