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President calls upon business community to generously contribute for flood relief measures.

KARACHI, September 03, 2010 (Balochistan Times ): President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday called upon the business community of Karachi to generously contribute to the flood relief measures particularly in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the damaged infrastructure. He said this during his meeting with the representatives of industries and Chambers of Commerce and Industries here in Bilawal House. The meeting was also attended by Information Advisor Sindh Jameel Soomro, Secretary Information PPP Fouzia Wahab, Secretary General to President Salman Farooqi, Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar and high ranking government officials. The businessmen who attended the meeting included: S.M. Munir, Bashir Muhammad Ali, Mian Zahid Hassan, Mirza Ikhtiar Beg, Ahmad Chinoy, Razzaq Paracha, Farooq Dadiand Masood Naqi among others. The President said such floods had never occurred in the country in the past and were unprecedented in terms of loss of life, property, livestock and damage to the infrastructure. He said that the devastation caused by floods was unprecedented as nearly 17 million have been adversely affected about one million houses washed out, 1800 kilometers of highways destroyed besides huge damage to other infrastructure. Farhatullah Babar quoted the President as saying that no government and no institution of the state can undertake the rehabilitation and reconstruction task on its own and every segment of the society-be it the business community, the NGOs, the civil society, philanthropists and the private sector need to do their bit to salvage the situation. The President said that the government realized that aid alone would not go far in addressing the huge problem and added, We are asking the world community to help Pakistan with trade facilitation rather than with aid and dole outs. He said that the destruction of nearly one million houses in floods means that nearly six million people will be without shelter for quite some time. This is a most disturbing situation and we have to address the issue of reconstruction of the houses on top priority. It is a long haul the President said and called upon the entire nation and the international community to assist the country in this time of acute distress. Urging the business community to extend a helping hand, he said that the challenge was too big and the disaster too widespread for the government alone to handle it. With nearly one fifth of the country under water the scale and extent of the devastation will send shudders down the spine of anyone, he said. The President said that the calamity also offered the nation an opportunity to rebuild its infrastructure, reclaim the rivers and make concerted efforts whereby the flood waters could be diverted to deserts for long term storage for use in the future. No matter what it takes we will rebuild the devastated infrastructure and rebuild the damaged houses and endeavour that the people started their normal lives at the earliest, the President said. He said that the government plans to build new settlements, towns and villages in different parts of the country where existing houses had been washed by floods The President appreciated the contribution of the business community in the relief activities in the flood affected areas and hoped they will continue their efforts in the rehabilitation phase as well. The participants apprised the president about the relief works undertaken so far by their respective organizations and chambers and assured that they will not abandon their fellow country men in distress. They also offered suggestions to help the business and industry cope up with the losses and to rejuvenate this sector to play its role in reconstruction phase and for economic development of the country. The President said their suggestions will be forwarded to the government for consideration. The President also mentioned how the international community had come forward to assist Pakistan and said that the government deeply appreciated the assistance rendered by the UN, the World Bank, ADB, International financial institutions and individual countries including USA, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, France, UK, Australia, Russia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, UAE, Canada and others for their moral and material support. But the world needs to do more, he said, adding the best way to help Pakistan in this hour of distress is to lift ban on its goods from entering markets of the US and EU. He assured the business community that govt will pursue the issue of access to markets and trade facilitation as single point agenda. He said the Foreign Minister had been directed to brief the forthcoming meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Sept 11 and press Pakistans case for market access. Farhatullah Babar quoted President as saying that a donors conference has been planned to be held soon in Islamabad on the platform of Pakistan development forum at which this issue will also be raised.

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Sep 6, 2010
Words:799
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