Feb 19, 2009

World needs to help Pakistan fight militancy: Zardari

* President says millions of young men and women expecting to enter into a productive job market
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari urged the international community on Wednesday to devise a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Pakistan to fight terrorism through a massive socio-economic uplift programme.“The international community needs to devise a Marshall Plan for building Pakistan’s capability to fight the militants through a massive programme of socio-economic development, education and employment in the under-developed Tribal Areas in particular and in the country in general,” he said while talking to Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, adviser to shadow British minister on national security, David Cameron.Job market: He said that more than half of over 170 million people of the country were young men and women under the age of 25 years with expectations to enter into a productive job market.“Their frustration with the current socio-economic and unemployment situation is creating a breeding ground for social unrest and militancy in the country,” he said.British High Commissioner Robert Brinkley, who was also present during the meeting, said the UK had decided to fulfil its commitment to double the development assistance for Pakistan despite worldwide economic recession.A statement by the Presidency said Zardari and Neville-Jones discussed matters pertaining to bilateral relations and situation in the region. The visiting leader said Pakistan’s response to Mumbai attack was encouraging. Foreign secretary Salman Bashir also attended the meeting.In a separate meeting with a Malaysian media group, President Zardari said the unparalleled growth of media in Pakistan and the ensuing competition offered great opportunities for collaboration between the media organisations of Pakistan and Malaysia.He said that Pakistan was at the centre of major international news because of its role in the war on terror and this also provided a great opportunity for news exchange programmes between the two countries.He said that Pakistani agriculturists and entrepreneurs could also learn and benefit a great deal from the Malaysian expertise in palm oil production. He said he would advise the government to send a delegation to Malaysia to learn first hand from the Malaysian experience in this regard.High Commissioner of Malaysia in Pakistan Ahmed Shahizan Bin Abdul Samad was also present on the occasion. Dato Abdul Mutalib Datuk Seri Muhammad Razak, the chairman of Media Prima Berhad, led the delegation.Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Muhammad Gondal also called on the president on Wednesday. A statement by the Presidency said the minister briefed Zardari “about the matters pertaining to his ministry”.

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