President says national mobilization needed for massive relief effort

KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari said on Monday that he will mobilize the entire nation for the relief and rehabilitation of affected people and convert the challenge of calamity into an opportunity and save Pakistan in all situations and circumstances.

He was addressing the country’s top business leaders at Bilawal House who had been specially invited for a brain storming session on mobilizing bossiness community in rescue, relief and rehabilitation of flood victims.The meeting was also attended by Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza, Nazar Mohammad Gondal, Raja Pervez Ashraf, members of Sindh Cabinet, senior government officers.

Besides, president Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, president Karachi Chamber Saeed Shafique, president OICCI Naveed A Khan, chairman Pakistan Business Council Asad Umer, Chairman Karachi Stock Exchange Munir Kamal, leading broker Aqeel Karim Dhedi, Zubair Motiwala and Siraj Kassem Teli, Mohammad Tahir of Al-Khair Trust were also present on the occasion and assured full support to the government in its efforts of relief and rehabilitation.

“We are faced with a huge challenge. But we will convert this huge challenge into an equally huge opportunity and make Pakistan stronger with the support of business community and the people. It is a test which we shall not only endure with patience and grace but will also come out of it triumphantly”, the President remarked.He said he was available to Sindh government for every support.  “I have set up a control room at Bilawal House to monitor the relief and rehabilitation work. I will monitor the monitors.

They should know that somebody is monitoring them too”, he added.President Zardari said that more than 7.5 million people have been affected in the recent torrential rains and the government has decided to give extra seeds to the growers in those areas which were not affected in the rain and therefore they can cultivate wheat. We will take measures so that we do not have to import wheat for meeting our needs, he observed.President said that he had already requested UN Secretary General Ban ki moon on September 10, 2011 when the UN chief was in Australia, to make an appeal for international assistance for flood victims in Pakistan. He said that although in view of conflicts and famines in different parts of the world the appetite for international assistance had decreased, the UN SG had made the appeal. I am grateful to UN for making this appeal for Pakistan, the President said.

He said that the government was aware of its responsibility for helping people in flood affected areas and had full confidence both in the business community’s will to help and the resilience of the people of Pakistan.
He said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had already asked the armed forces to expand their operations and assist the civilian authorities in relief and rescue work. Together we will fight this challenge, he said. – APP