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US helping Pakistan become prosperous, democratic: US envoy

23 September, 2014

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KARACHI: Consul General of United States (US) in Karachi Brian Heath highlighting US Assistance Programme for Pakistan said US has been helping Pakistan become a stable, prosperous and democratic nation as all these three elements were critical to success and co-dependent on one another.

At Karachi Chamber Of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) he said, "You cannot have a stable nation without democracy and prosperity. You cannot have a prosperous nation, if it is unstable and lacks democracy. Democracy does not last long in a country that is not prosperous and unstable."

All of the US efforts are geared towards helping people of Pakistan to create an enabling business environment.United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is helping Pakistan rebuild its infrastructure, particularly the roads network in order to ensure smooth flow of tradable goods across the country and also to facilitate cross-border trade. We are working on various projects to refurbish the existing power stations with a view to add more megawatts into the system and are helping to build the education sector so that maximum number of children have access to education, he added.

He was of the view both energy and education were key to prosperous business environment as employees did not work as productively and efficiently without education while factories could not be run without electricity.

Heath informed during his earlier visit to police headquarters, US Consulate donated trucks, bulletproof jackets and helmets to help police maintain law and order situation.Our assistance programmes for Pakistan is one of largest involving hundreds of millions dollars throughout the year and even close to a billion if military assistance being provided by US is also added to the assistance programme, he informed.

Terrorists' attacks and extremists' attack in Karachi and elsewhere in Pakistan affect investors' confidence, which needs to be improved. Although Pakistan's economy has been growing but the country faces severe energy crisis, which affects Gross Domestic Products growth rate. In this regard US has been assisting Pakistan to overcome energy crisis on priority under US Assistance Programmes.

President KCCI Abdullah Zaki said Karachi the financial and economic hub of Pakistan was contributing more than 68 percent revenue to the national exchequer and offering immense opportunities for investment and joint ventures to US businessmen and investors.We have been focusing on strengthening trade ties with western countries including US as we believe 'Pakistan needs Trade Not Aid' and we are constantly emphasising upon the need to minimise trade barriers between the two countries, he added.

During 2013-14, Pakistan's exports to US were recorded at $3,951.04 million while Pakistan's import from US stood at $1,125.58 million making the trade balance favourable for Pakistan by $2,825 million.However no progress was taking place in signing of Bilateral Investment Treaty between US and Pakistan since 2009, which needs to be implemented at the earliest as it would go in favour of both countries, he added.

End.

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