Gilani for continuation of aid under Kerry-Lugar Bill
MULTAN: Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani met US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olsan on Tuesday and said aid to Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar Bill should continue as Pakistan had made unprecedented sacrifices in the war against terrorism.
Gilani told reporters after the meeting with the US diplomat that relations between Pakistan and the US were based on mutual respect and that Pakistan had good ties with the US as it was a front line partner of the US in the war on terror. He said the war claimed the lives of more than 40,000 civilians and more than 9,000 soldiers.
“The war affected our economy as well. As we are fighting for peace, the US aid under the Kerry-Lugar Bill should not be suspended,” he said.
He said the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (PCEC) was a sign of two countries’ friendship.
“Former president Asif Ali Zardari visited China nine times during his tenure and I as prime minister made seven visits to China. China is not a friend of any political party but it is a friend of Pakistan,” he said.
He said unity of Pakistani politicians on the PCEC had foiled the conspiracy of India which wanted to make the project controversial.
He said the ruling party won the Gilgat-Baltistan elections as the PPP and Pervez Musharaf’s supported party had won in the past when they were in power.
He said the PPP had reservations over the federal budget as it was a traditional budget with jugglery of word and no relief was provided to the commoner.
He said there should be an appropriate increase in the salaries of government employees.
He said increase in petroleum products’ prices before the budget was actually a mini budget and the government should withdraw the notification of price hike.
He said a relief package should be announced by the government to provide people with relief in Ramazan, and the government should also ensure that there should be no loadshedding.
He said the bloodshed of Muslims in Burma was condemnable and it was pathetic that Muslim countries were silent over the massacre.
“Even the Pakistan government could not take a clear stance over this issue,” he added.
Mr Olsan visited the shrine of Musa Pak Shaheed where Mr Gilani welcomed him.
He also visited the shrines of Bahauddin Zakariya and Shah Rukn-i-Alam where former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcomed him and briefed him about the shrines, lives and thoughts of the saints.
The ambassador said terrorism could be eliminated through promotion of teachings of saints.
He said he came to Multan to pay homage to Shah Rukn-i-Alam as the 700th Urs celebrations of the saint are being commemorated.
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