The Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz remained busy with
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during his four-day official visit to
Pakistan. The Chinese Prime Minister was accompanied by a high level
delegation of 70 members.
After three days of meetings and talks held at the
highest level, the two countries have signed 22 agreements including
"treaty of friendship, cooperation and good neighbourly
relations" which is of course a landmark giving a new height to the
long friendship between China and Pakistan.
The visiting prime minister also held meetings with
Ch. Shujaat Hussain and Senator Mushahid Hussain who briefed him on
progress on Balochistan and about their visit to India and their
meetings with Indian leadership. In a meeting with Governor NWFP, Wen
addressed a gathering at ground breaking ceremony of new a tractor
manufacturing plant — Agro Tractor Limited near Sheikhupura and laid
foundation stones of 5 interconnected projects of Rs30 billion in
Chakwal including three cement plants bringing an investment of over
$500 million by Pakistani expatriates, which would provide job
opportunities to over 50,000 people.
Meanwhile, addressing a gathering of industrialists,
investors and locals, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said, the completion
of the plants would generate economic activity, improve infrastructure
and create jobs. The Prime Minister said, Pakistan, with the completion
of these projects could become a major exporter of cement to the
regional countries. Pakistan was one of the major cement exporters for
the reconstruction work in Afghanistan and the local cement industry was
already working on full capacity. "There is still vast scope for
improvement and sky is the limit," he said while referring to the
large demand for cement within the country and in the neighboring
Shaukat Aziz terming the event as a "historic
" and a "red letter day" said, "we are embarking on
a journey to progress, prosperity and development that will take us to
new Pakistan". The Prime Minster announced that the areas adjoining
the four industrial units, be provided natural gas, and said the federal
and the provincial governments besides the investors would share funds
for the construction of road network around the area.
About the environmental impact, Prime Minister
Shaukat Aziz said, all the three cement units are installing plants that
fully comply with highest standards to curb environmental pollution. The
government, he said, believes that a "clean environment means a
healthy people," and would ensure that such standards are
The government, he said, was creating a friendly
environment to encourage more business and to create investment
opportunities and the people would be the real beneficiaries of this
development. He said a bright future lied ahead for the people of the
area, with the completion of these units.
"I can assure you that in the next five years,
the whole area would be fully transformed," he said adding a number
of allied industries and businesses would set up their offices in and
around Chakwal, creating more employment opportunities.
Addressing a big gathering at Sheikhupura, Prime
Minister said that the government is expecting five percent growth in
the agriculture sector during the current financial year against the
target of four percent. He disclosed that fortunately the country had
produced 15 million bales of cotton, which was a record in the history
of the country while wheat was expected to touch the figure of 22
million tonnes in this season. Punjab Chief Minister Ch. Pervez Ellahi,
Punjab Governor Lt. Gen. Khalid Maqbool (Retd), Federal Minister for
Food and Agriculture Sikander Hayat Bosan and other high officials were
also present on the occasion.
The Prime Minister further disclosed that water
availability had increased by 30 percent this year. "The government
has made additional funds allocation of Rs60 billion for the uplift of
rural areas, which would help create job opportunities for the rural
people besides alleviating poverty from the country," he added.
"The spending on rural areas has started producing positive
results, including slowing down the rural urban migration, which has
reduced the burden on big cities," he said.
Counting present government measures taken for the
agriculture sector, he said, "we have imported urea fertilizer to
overcome shortage so that farmers could enhance their
productivity". Besides, he said, excise duty was reduced by 10
percent on the import of tractors. Presently, the country is facing
shortage of tractors while two to three tractors manufacturing plants
could not meet the demand, he added. However, with the setting up of
this new tractor plant, the tractor production would be increased, which
would help development of the agriculture sector, he maintained. Shaukat
Aziz asked the leasing companies, commercial banks and other financial
institutions to take steps for providing tractors to the farmers on
He stressed the need for adopting mechanized farming
under the concept of globalization; otherwise the country would lag
behind. As a result of government's policies to reduce the role of
middlemen, the farmers would be able to sell their products at market
price, he added. Highlighting the importance of agriculture sector, the
Prime Minister said this sector alone contribute 60 percent to the GDP
of the country. Similarly, Pakistan had shown significant development in
dairy sector where it stands sixth among 10 biggest milk-producing
countries in the world. Due to government efforts, the agriculture
sector made considerable development during the last two years, he
added. He stressed the need for hardworking and said no power in the
world could stop Pakistan from making progress. "Pakistan's
progress is progress of the Islamic countries," said the Pakistani
After his meeting with Ch. Shujaat Hussain about
Balochistan, the Prime Minister expressed the firm resolve of his
government that the Balochistan issue would be amicably addressed
through dialogue in an atmosphere of goodwill and understanding so that
peace could be maintained for the progress and development of the
The Prime Minister was glad to know that the talks in
Dera Bugti were held in an atmosphere of goodwill and understanding. He
reiterated that the security of national installations would be ensured
at all costs. The PML President and General Secretary also apprised the
Prime Minister of their recent visit to India and termed it fruitful.
The Prime Minister expressed the hope that the visit would further
improve the atmosphere and environment between the two countries.
Addressing party workers from Karachi, Shaukat Aziz
urged the PML workers to follow the guiding principles of the
Quaid-e-Azam and asked to maintain the pace for progress and prosperity
in the country attained during the last five years.
He said policies and reforms followed in recent years
had earned a rightful place for the country in the comity of nations.
"With the hard work from all of us, Pakistan is progressing and
moving ahead on the road to development," he said. PML President
Ch. Shujaat Hussain in his brief remarks lauded the efforts of the PML,
Karachi division in carrying out organization of party in a short span
Governor NWFP, Khalil-ur-Rehman called on the Prime
Minister and exchanged views with him on matters pertaining to the
province with special reference to the development of tribal areas.
Talking to the Governor, the Prime Minister assured that federal
government would continue its assistance for speedy development of NWFP
particularly in the tribal areas of the country. He urged the need to
focus on progress for provision of health and education facilities,
supply of safe drinking water and construction of roads.
The Prime Minister lauded the patriotism of the
people of Tribal Areas and said they have distinguished themselves for
having rendered great sacrifices for the country.
He expressed the confidence that owing to continued
efforts of the government, the under-developed areas of the country
would be brought at par with the developed ones, especially FATA. The
overall security situation of the province as well as tribal areas also
came under discussion.
Prime Minister has also approved a countrywide
program worth Rs2.5 billion for prevention and control of hepatitis in
the country, which will be called Prime Minister's Program for
Prevention and Control of Hepatitis. The approval was accorded by the
Prime Minister at a high level meeting held at the Prime Minister House.
Shaukat Aziz said that more than 5 million people are suffering from
this deadly disease in the country and the government has decided to
combat it on war footing.
The program envisages free treatment of the patients
along with increasing public awareness regarding preventive methods. He
expressed his government's firm determination to make all efforts for
checking and preventing the deadly disease.
The Prime Minister also dissected the Ministry of
Health to make arrangements for the treatment of 5,000 chronic patients
every year free of cost, as the treatment of hepatitis is very costly.
The national strategy for prevention and controlling hepatitis focuses
on supply of safe drinking water, safe injections, medical devices and
proper waste management in addition to safety of blood and blood
products. It also involves creating greater public awareness regarding
preventive methods with the help of media.