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Canada provides $ 250mln for polio eradication in Pakistan: envoy

ISLAMABAD, FEB 12 (DNA)= The High Commissioner of Canada to Pakistan Heather Cruden has said Canada is keen to help Pakistan in various sectors including commercial as well social sectors.She expressed these views while talking to a select group of media people at her residence.“As part of Canada’s 250-million-dollar commitment to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Canada is providing 20 million dollars to UNICEF’s Polio Plus initiative in Pakistan. We hope to find success in addressing a combination of factors that have led to the continued transmission of the polio virus in that country”.

She further said, Canadians value their longstanding ties with the men and women of Pakistan. This friendship is based in part on people-to-people ties centered on an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 Canadians of Pakistani origin living in Canada.

Some of you undoubtedly have family in Mississauga! The Pakistani community in Canada has played a major role in enriching the multicultural fabric of Canada.We are delighted that after the recent federal election, we now have three women of Pakistani heritage in Parliament, she added.

She further said here in Pakistan, Canada is very active on the ground. Our efforts in your country include development cooperation; trade and investment; efforts to enhance regional security, to promote human rights, and to empower women; and ongoing fostering of the people-to-people ties I just mentioned.

“For example, you will all know the name Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. She has spent a lot of time in Canada, and so many of us are also cheering her on as she vies for her second Oscar. Please make the time to see her important documentary on the harsh suffering inflicted by honour killings. I hope we can celebrate Sharmeen’s victory on February 28!

When Sharmeen’s Oscar nomination was announced in January, Prime Minister Sharif stated that honour killings are “evil” and vowed to bring forward legislation to rid Pakistan of them. Canada condemns violence against women committed in the name of “honour” and I warmly congratulate the Prime Minister for his determination to protect the women of Pakistan.

She said, Canada is keen to assist Pakistan in the commercial sector. We actively encourage Canadian technology and service firms to invest in Pakistan’s extractive sector, IT & Telecoms, the power sector, and the agriculture sector. Canadian firms have the capacity and technology know-how to effectively invest in these areas, as well as in variety of other sectors, to the benefit of Pakistan’s economy.

Our development assistance includes, among others, an emphasis on women’s economic empowerment.

Canada encourages all countries to promote and protect human rights. I appreciate our ongoing and open dialogue with the Government of Pakistan on human rights, in a spirit of mutual respect, she added.

“Issues which are particularly important to Canada include religious tolerance and respect for minorities, gender equality, and freedom for the press. An independent, pluralistic, and free press, along with a vibrant civil society, are essential to a transparent and vibrant democracy”.

Heather Cruden said, Canada welcomes the establishment of an autonomous National Commission for Human Rights. As this Commission continues to grow into its role, I hope that it will receive the resources necessary to fulfill its obligations, the high commissioner added.

“On the question of the rights of women, I want to emphasize that Canada is committed to working with partners in Pakistan and around the world to end child, early, and forced marriage. This practice denies girls their childhood, disrupts girls’ access to education, and jeopardizes girls’ health”.

The high commissioner said, child, early, and forced marriage keeps girls from reaching their full potential, and also from fully contributing to the social and economic growth of their families, their communities, and their countries.

It is my hope that ongoing debates about child marriage in Pakistan will place great emphasis on the mental and physical health of girls, she added.=DNA

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