| Updated at: 2224 PST, Sunday, October 24, 2010|
LAHORE: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has stressed upon the foreign-based Pakistani journalists to play their effective role in removing all misconceptions about Pakistan.
He was talking to a six-member Pakistan Journalists Association, UK, delegation headed by Tahir Chaudhry at his residence here on Sunday.
A representative of a charity organisation "Muslim Hands" was also present on the occassion.
The Prime Minister said that Pakistan was simultaneously faced with a number of challenges and we are already in the middle of war against terrorism and facing economic recession, while another disaster came in the shape of floods, which delayed the sensitization of the world to realise Pakistan's problems and destructions due to flood calamity.
Pakistan is consistently seeking its access to America and European markets for trade, which means we want to get rid of aid and determine to improve country's economic health through enhanced global trade, he asserted.
Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani appreciated the efforts of foreign based Pak journalists' efforts for creating awareness among Pakistani diaspora about the flood victims, adding, "You have done a noble job and you should also make efforts to improve country's image in the comity of nations particularly in UK."
The delegation told the Prime Minister that they had collected 32,000 pounds and a container of relief goods being distributed among the flood-hit people in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa and Sindh.
Gilani said that government was following the same national strategy, adopted for 2.5 million IDPs of Swat, for rehabilitation of flood victims, adding, this internationally recognised strategy was proved a success story.
Besides, he added, "We have established an Oversight Disaster Management Council in consultation with all the provinces at Council of Common Interest (CCI) forum."
He said that the Federal government had shared the ownership of Watan Cards (for flood victims) with the provinces to make it more authentic and credible.
The Prime Minister said that World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) would present their preliminary report on Disaster Need Assessment (DNA) within a few days and the final version in this regard probably next month.
While, Pakistan Development Committee's meeting has been convened mid next month, in which all the international donors and partners would make commitments according to the DNA report, which would enable us to know, how much foreign aid Pakistan would be getting.
The donors were free to initiate flood relief projects at their own or to donate in the Prime Minister Relief Fund, he maintained.
The Prime Minister said that government had also decided to provide free of cost seeds, fertilizers and other agri inputs to the flood-hit farmer/growers having cultivation lands up to 25 acres.
The federal government, he said, was also conducting Poverty Survey throughout Pakistan and on the basis of this survey, the poor people would be extended financial assistance, life and health insurance and other facilities under Benazir Income Support Programme.
To a question by the delegates, Gilani said that they have always great respect for media and the PPP-led government maintained cordial relations with this vital pillar of the state. "We (politicians and mediamen) have struggled together for restoration of democracy, rule of law and supremacy of the parliament to make Pakistan a better place for its people to live in," he maintained.
To another question, he said, Karachi was a mini Pakistan with multi-lingual and ethnic population and the government was taking all the political parties and other stake-holder on board to ensure durable peace there.
The Prime Minister has ruled out the reports of corruption (in the government), citing, "these are mere allegations and wrong perceptions" and any body having proves in this regard can move the courts.
The representative of Muslim Hands apprised the PM that they would provide 500 two-room houses to the flood victims in different parts of the country.
Gilani also appreciated the efforts of the Muslim Hands and other NGOs working for relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims.