PM’s lead for strategic reforms highlights govt’s priorities
Salman Sufi, Head of Prime Minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit, had a range of bilateral meetings with high-ranking US officials today. He met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of South and Central Asia Elizabeth Horst at the US Department of State. Mr. Sufi outlined Prime Minister’s vision for strategic reforms and discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations by focusing on tech, finance, economic, health, startups, climate change, energy and people to people contacts. Mr. Salman Sufi also requested for appointment of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) official at US Karachi Consulate for pre clearance of Pakistani Mangoes at Karachi port prior to their export to the United States. Currently, mangoes, originating from Pakistan, are treated and cleared in Houston, which not only increases the cost but also causes delay in the availability of perishable item. The US side agreed to work on the proposal and renewed its commitment to further enhance cooperation with the Government of Pakistan.
During meeting with the delegation of US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT), and Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Mr. Sufi stressed to expedite the process for resumption of PIA direct flights from Pakistan to the United States. Mr. Sufi noted that New Islamabad Airport is well equipped as per international standards to meet the TSA’s requirements. The US side conveyed its readiness to have technical discussions with Civil Aviation Authority and other relevant departments and undertaking necessary visits for resumption of direct flights.
Mr. Sufi also met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Kara McDonald. He highlighted government’s commitment to protect rights of minorities, women and marginalized communities. He outlined Prime Minister’s expansion of two initiatives: First, “Women on Wheels” for providing subsidized motorcycles and training to women polio workers, lady health workers, teachers and small business owners in small cities and rural areas across Pakistan. Second, expansion of “Violence against Women Centers” in all provinces. He stated that a national hotline will soon be operational for dealing with the cases of gender violence and against minorities. The US side appreciated these initiatives and showed interest to work with the government of Pakistan in this regard.
While meeting USAID’s Deputy Assistant Administrator Ms. Maria Longi, Mr. Sufi apprised the USAID team on collaborating further on Women on Wheels and Violence against Women Centers. Ms. Longi said that gender and women empowerment were part of USAID strategy. She reaffirmed their commitment to work with the government and people of Pakistan in this regard.
Washington D.C, July 27, 2022