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Zardari asks US to prepare 'Marshall Plan' for Pakistan

02 August, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday called upon the international community, especially the United States, to step forward and prepare a 'Marshall Plan' for Pakistan for strategic economic stability and advancement of the country's development agenda.

The president said that the people of Pakistan have suffered greatly as a result of the ongoing fight against militancy and terrorism and there was need for the international community to give its people the peace dividend by way of massive economic assistance, energy development and greater market access.

The president said this during his one-on-one and delegation-level meetings with US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Presidency on Thursday. Spokesperson to the president, Senator Farhatullah Babar, while briefing about the meetings, said that Secretary Kerry congratulated the president on the peaceful and democratic transfer of civilian power in the country and appreciated his overseeing various phases of the smooth transition.

He termed the smooth power transfer a significant milestone in Pakistan's democratic progress and said that people of Pakistan have affirmed commitment to democratic rule, which he said is critical to achieving peace and prosperity. Thanking Secretary Kerry, the president stated that the credit for first ever smooth power transfer went to the democratic forces, all the political parties, parliament and all the people of Pakistan for enthusiastic participation in the electoral process despite threats from militants and extremists.

Zardari said that smooth transition reflected the democratic ethos of the people. He also appreciated Kerry's expressed support to the people of Pakistan. The spokesperson said that Pak-US bilateral relations, reconciliation in Afghanistan, drone attacks and global and regional issues were discussed during the meeting.

On drone attacks, the president said that drone strikes in FATA by the US violate Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity and are also negatively impacting on the mutual desire of both countries to forge a cordial and cooperative relationship and to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Zardari called for an end to the drone attacks and said that they are counter-productive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives and also fuel anti-American feelings.

The president called for sustainable and positive relationship between Pakistan and United States on the basis of mutual respect, mutual trust and mutual interest. The goal of establishing a long-term and durable Pak-US equation would remain elusive till the issue of trust deficit is addressed in an effective manner. He urged the need for enhanced trade and investment ties between the two countries and increased market access of Pakistani goods to the US.

End.

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