South Asia

Pakistan urged by 'friends' to reform economy

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton in Brussels (15 Oct 2010)
Image caption Pakistan said it had already taken measure to improve its economy

A group of 26 nations and global institutions has urged Pakistan to reform its economy and government.

At a meeting in Brussels, the group known as Friends of a Democratic Pakistan said it was willing to help victims of recent devastating floods.

But it also stressed that Pakistan should do more to help itself.

In response, Islamabad said it was raising more taxes from its wealthiest citizens and urged improved access to EU markets to boost Pakistan's economy.

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that the rich in Pakistan must do more to help their own people.

She called on the Pakistani government to mobilise its own resources and said there was only so much that the international community could do.

With cuts in government spending in many Western countries, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify giving hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to a notoriously inefficient government in Islamabad, the BBC's Jonty Bloom in Brussels reports.

Our correspondent says that the patience and generosity of donor nations may be wearing thin even if Pakistan is a major bulwark against terrorism and extremism.

He adds that that was the reason why the Pakistani government was keen to emphasise after the Brussels meeting that it had taken measures to strengthen democracy and improve its economy, including raising more in taxation from it richest citizens.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites