Gillani requests UK aid for developing Pakistan's tribal areas

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Islamabad, Apr.8 ; Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani has requested visiting British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to provide British assistance for the development of his country's tribal areas. In a metting held at the Prime Minister's House on Monday, Gillani was quoted by the Daily Times as saying that his government is keen on improving the socio-economic conditions, reducing poverty and generating job opportunities for tribals living along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.

Gillani also underlined the need for regulating the functions of madrassas in the area, providing them with modern education, so as to ensure that they were no longer seen as founts of extremism by the international community.

Gillani told Smith that his government would follow a "multi-pronged" strategy to address terrorism and extremism. Describing the menace as a worldwide threat, he said the global community should focus on its root-causes such as economic disparity and unresolved political issues.

Gillani also stressed the need to expand Pak-UK relations in all areas to boost existing economic and trade relations.

The paper quoted Smith as telling Gillani that she appreciated Pakistan's role in curtailing terrorism and extremism, adding that the UK Government would provide full support to his government and for an early return of Pakistan to the Commonwealth.

Increase: The UK Home secretary also announced an increase of British assistance to Pakistan: "Through our Department For International Development (DFID), the UK is doubling its spending in Pakistan to 480 million pounds for the period of 2008 to 2011."

She said that some of the DFID funding was earmarked for development programmes in the Tribal Areas.

ANI

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