ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Tuesday urged for early completion of developmental projects undertaken by Pakistan in Afghanistan.
He said this while talking to Director General, Frontier Works Organisation (FWO). The Director General informed the finance minister that FWO has capacity, competence and human resource available to successfully undertake construction related projects in foreign countries. He informed the finance minister that there are opportunities for FWO to undertake projects in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Yemen in order to earn valuable foreign exchange for the country. He said that FWO has huge potential to work even in hard areas where other international companies are reluctant to go. He added that to undertake foreign projects FWO would need sovereign guarantees and opening of foreign exchange accounts in terms of US dollars. He requested the support of the SBP and the finance ministry in this regard.
The finance minister appreciated the developmental projects undertaken by the FWO and said that recently he has visited various FWO projects including construction of Torkham-Jalalabad Highway in Afghanistan. He said that he has urged all the concerned departments to expedite the projects undertaken by Pakistan government in Afghanistan, which will demonstrate Pakistan’s political commitment to peace and stability in the neighbouring country. The finance minister added, “We must put Nishtar Kidney Centre Jalalabad on fast track.”
Director General, Department for Regional Affairs and Development at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tore Hattrem and Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Naeemul Hassan, separately called on Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.
At his request, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister briefed Tore Hattrem and members of his delegation on Afghanistan. He stressed upon the need of an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led reconciliation process, which was imperative for lasting peace. He stressed that the Afghan elections held the key to the future of Afghanistan and the happenings in Afghanistan directly impacted Pakistan. The present government desires a stable Afghanistan, which is absolutely essential for peace and stability in the region, he stressed .
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister also briefed the visiting delegation about Pakistan’s energy needs and called upon the Norwegian companies to invest in Pakistan’s fast growing energy sector. He stated that Norwegian Telenor holds a major chunk of the telecom market in Pakistan with investment of more than US$ 2 billion. Telenor experience can be replicated by other Norwegian firms for making in-roads into the energy sector of Pakistan.
Tore Hattrem thanked the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for his exhaustive briefing on Afghanistan and stated that he would carry home the message for Norwegian companies to invest in Pakistan’s energy sector.
Meanwhile, Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Naeemul Hassan called on Fatemi. Councillor Afzal Khan, former Lord Mayor of Manchester, accompanied the Lord Mayor.
The Lord Mayor briefed the Special Assistant on the activities of the Pakistani community in Manchester. He discussed ways and means to improve provision of consular services to Pakistani community. The Special Assistant lauded the role of the Pakistani community and said that they were instrumental in building closer ties between Pakistan and the UK.
The Special Assistant assured the Lord Mayor that efforts are under way for provision of better consular facilities to Pakistani community in Manchester.
The Lord Mayor thanked the Special Assistant for his interest in resolving the problems of the Pakistani community in the UK.