Islamabad: Amid criticism from Western
donors over widespread corruption within the PPP-led
government and misuse of aid, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani on Monday asked the international community "to be patient
with Pakistan" as it grapples with a host of challenges
ranging from terrorism to post-flood reconstruction.
The government is committed to "lead people through
painful yet fundamental reforms", Gilani said in his address
at the plenary session of the Pakistan Development Forum,
which is being attended by representatives of countries and
institutions providing aid to the country.
"We are prepared to take political risks for providing
the necessary leadership to our people. We have demonstrated
our will to take unpopular decisions. However, our resolve to
lead our people to a glorious tomorrow is unflinching," Gilani
Pakistan has faced considerable criticism from Western
donors in recent months over widespread corruption within the
government and reports of misuse of aid provided for millions
of people affected by devastating floods earlier this year.
It has also faced criticism from key allies, including
the US, for relying too much on external aid and failing to do
more to raise revenues from internal resources.
Gilani referred to these concerns in his speech and
said Pakistan, like other developing countries, has "problems
of governance" and "issues of transparency and corruption."
"Please consider this as work in progress. Kindly be
patient with Pakistan...We look towards you for understanding
and support, the prime minister underlined.
The PPP leader acknowledged that the country does not
"invest enough" in social sectors and needs global assistance,
knowledge and expertise to overcome such challenges.
He highlighted the need for "long-term, consistent
support" so that "we can continue on a journey which would
make Pakistan, and its people, realize their full potential".
"The extreme difficulties that...the people of
Pakistan have faced over the last three years have tested us.
They have tested our resolve as a nation. They have tested our
courage. They have tested our determination. They have tested
our resilience. We as a nation have faced these challenges, the prime minister said.
"In an environment that has been badly damaged by
floods, and badly shaken by frequent attacks by terrorists,
our people must not lose hope. We want to give our people
especially our youth, a message of hope. That is the only way
to realize the potential we talk about when we speak of a
demographic dividend," Gilani added.