ISLAMABAD - Canada on Wednesday expressed concerns over the proposed legislation on Foreign Assistance Policy Framework and said that concerns of all stakeholders, including national and international NGOs, should be taken care of.

The Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden shared these views during a meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar here. Canada is the second country after United States, which asked to address the concerns of stakeholders over the proposed legislation to regulate foreign funding of non-governmental organisations under Pakistan’s National Action Plan to counter terrorism.

The Finance Minister responded that while Pakistan welcomed and appreciated welfare and charity work by NGOs/INGos in true spirit, it had to keep a vigilant eye on organizations indulging in negative activities. He said the EAD (Economic Affairs Division) was having a close liaison with the NGOs, donors and other related organizations and the law on this issue would take due cognizance of the views of stakeholders.

The Canadian high commissioner said, “Looked forward to working with the Finance Minister and his team to further build up the momentum of Pak-Canada economic cooperation.”

The minister welcomed Cruden to the ministry of finance and wished her well in her future assignment in Pakistan. He said Pakistan and Canada had a long history of sound economic cooperation nurtured by leaders of both the countries.

The Canadian high commissioner, commenting on the just concluded visit of the Chinese President said, “I am truly amazed.” Signing of the $45 billion MoUs / agreements between Pakistan and China really spoke volumes of the economic significance of this visit to Pakistan, she remarked. The minister briefed the high commissioner about salient features of the CPEC projects and said emphasis was laid on developing energy sector, infrastructure development and communication. He said CPEC would not be beneficial for Pakistan and China only but also benefit countries in South Asia, Middle East, Central Asia and Far East.

The minister briefed the Canadian high commissioner about his visit to USA where he met top US leadership and senior officials in various departments besides attending the IMF/World Bank spring meetings. He said he witnessed a state of satisfaction on Pakistan’s economic headway during all his high level meetings. The minister also apprised the Canadian envoy about the progress on Operation Zarb-e-Azb, also dilating on the government’s efforts for rehabilitation of TDPs. The whole exercise including the operation itself and the rehabilitation measures, the minister said would require $1.7 billion. He said that three conferences had been held so far to keep the donors abreast of the situation with regard to the anti-terror operation in Tribal Areas and the efforts of the government to rehabilitate the affected people.

Heather Cruden who was accompanied by Development Counsellor, David Fournier on the occasion said her country, apart from economic development in general would also now focus on areas like eradication of polio, women empowerment as well as promotion of education.

Heather Cruden appreciated Pakistan’s economic recovery under the PML-N government’s economic team, spearheaded by the Finance Minister Dar. She said introducing and implementing strict economic reforms with consistency was a challenging task which was well accomplished and its positive impact was clearly visible. She wished the Finance Minister and his team all success in their future endeavours for economic development of the country.