WASHINGTON  - Pakistan has sought the support of the United States in the completion of large hydroelectric projects.

Taking part in the fifth Energy Working Group meeting in Washington hosted by the US Pakistan Business Council (USPBC) at the US Chamber of Commerce for a Business Roundtable‚ the Pakistani power sector delegation emphasized the need for enhanced U.S. assistance in the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam. Ministers for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi‚ co-chaired the meeting with U.S. Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs Ambassador Carlos Pascual.

The Working Group reviewed the existing collaboration and explored future cooperation in oil and gas as well as power sectors and also discussed the renewable energy potential in Pakistan. The USPBC invited senior executives from several US companies and associations including the American Wind Energy Association, Solar Energy Industries Association and Geothermal Energy Association for discussion with the Pakistani side.

The Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Asif, briefed the participants about the broad contours of the power policy of Pakistan and highlighted the recent initiatives taken by the Government of Pakistan to manage and overcome the acute energy shortages. The Minister encouraged the participants to invest in the energy sector in Pakistan, which presented a favourable environment with immense potential of growth and immediate dividends.  The Minister also shared with the participants about the constructive discussions held in the Energy Working Group meetings with the US government and the interest shown by the US Government to collaborate with Pakistan in providing technical and financial assistance in revamping and reviving the energy sector.The participants of the Pakistan Business Council evinced keen interest in working with the Government of Pakistan to further explore avenues of investment in the energy projects.  The next meeting of the Energy Working Group will be held in Islamabad next year.

Washington to help Pakistan control foot-and-mouth disease:INP adds from Islamabad: US Animal Health Attaché Dr. David Ashford says Pakistan can lead the milk producing market around the globe if it succeeds in controlling Foot-and-Mouth disease.

In an interview with Radio Pakistan‚ David Ashford said 35 to 50 percent of all animals are exposed to the Foot-and-Mouth disease virus by the time they reach one-year of age. He said the number is high‚ which is why the United States is dedicated to help Pakistan control this disease.

He said milk is an important source of food not only in Pakistan‚ but also in rest of the world. However‚ presence of foot-and-mouth disease in Pakistan prohibits its exports.

Referring to the recent livestock studies done in the country‚ he suggested a single buffalo affected by FMD virus costs the farmer over eighteen thousand rupees for six months of milk production. He stressed the need to a national program in place to control the disease that would include a strong veterinary service‚ effective national vaccination‚ animal movement control with inspection and certification of vaccination.

US Department of Agriculture with assistance of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Government of Pakistan has set up essential diagnostic capacities to confirm FMD infection in public laboratories in all provinces.