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ISLAMABAD: Australian Ambassador to Pakistan Neil Hawkins on Wednesday appreciated the government’s efforts for the stability of the country’s economy and the IMF agreement.

During a meeting with Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, the ambassador also appreciated the federal minister for information’s efforts to promote film and culture and freedom of expression in the country.

In the meeting, bilateral relations, economic stability, and cooperation in the fields of film, art, and culture were discussed.

An Australian company was working in Balochistan on the Reko Diq project, the Australian ambassador said.

The ambassador said the Reko Diq project would undoubtedly open the door for the development of Pakistan.

The Information minister said Pakistan valued relations with Australia.

According to the vision of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, she said, the government took immediate and concrete steps for the country’s economy.

The information minister also briefed the ambassador of Australia about the establishment of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).

This council would ensure the forecasting, continuity and effective implementation of the policy for economic recovery, the minister said.

The SIFC would function at the apex decision-making forum, she added.

Aurangzeb said the government fully believed in freedom of expression. The government introduced the Freedom of Expression Bill in Parliament during its first week in power, she said.

The Journalists and Media Professionals Protection (Amendment) Bill was in the process of approval, she maintained.

A huge amount of money has been allocated for the health insurance of journalists and artists in this year’s budget.

For the first time a budget had been allocated for the film industry, she said.

“Pakistan wants to show its culture, tradition, and civilisation to the whole world through the screen.”

The information minister also informed the Australian ambassador about the National Amateur Film Festival.

“National Amateur Film Festival aims at highlighting the creativity of Pakistani youth, in which, 25 high achievers recently left for Australia for National Amateur Film Festival Awards,” she added.

The government has also established a film finance fund at a cost of Rs2 billion.

Many concessions had been given in the film sector, the government would provide funds for producing films, documentaries and dramas, the minister said.

Foreign filmmakers should benefit from special concessions in the field of photography and filmmaking in Pakistan, she added.

Australian media reported the situation in Pakistan in an objective and impartial manner which was commendable, she added.

The Pemra law is being changed in Pakistan, and journalistic organisations have also been represented in the Pemra authority.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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