Australia to give $200 mn aid to Pakistan

Australia will provide over USD 200 million in financial assistance under the Australia-Pakistan Development Partnership Programme.

Chicago: Australia will provide over USD 200 million in financial assistance to Pakistan over the next three years under the Australia-Pakistan Development Partnership Programme.

It was revealed during a meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Chicago where the two-day NATO summit is taking place, Dawn reported on Monday. The Pakistan President is in Chicago for the summit.

According to President Zardari`s spokesperson Farhatullah Babar, the President said that Pakistan was looking towards a long-term economic engagement in the region for fighting militancy.

For this purpose, Zardari said, Pakistan would not allow its soil to be used for any subversive activity against any other country.

He said peace and stability in Afghanistan were central to peace and stability in Pakistan.

The Pakistani President said the militants had been created by the international community as a war weapon to defeat the rival ideology but when the war was won the international community left Pakistan alone to handle the problem by itself.

He said it was the responsibility of the entire international community to now help Pakistan in overcoming this challenge.

President Zardari during the meeting also called for a further enhancement of economic and trade ties between Pakistan and Australia.

Zardari emphasised that the international community needed to strengthen educational infrastructure in Pakistan to fight the militant mindset.

According to Zardari`s spokesperson, Australia is currently supporting two major projects in the education sector in Pakistan.

Zardari also thanked Gillard for Australia`s assistance to the flood victims in Pakistan.

Both leaders also discussed regional situation and the fight against militancy during the meet.

Zardari said that in his talks with President Hamid Karzai on Sunday morning, an agreement was reached to extend the transit trade agreement to other countries beyond Afghanistan in the region.

Economic development in border areas would help address the problems of militancy and terrorism, he added.