Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has directed the Capital Development Authority to urgently provide one outlet to “Aik Hunar Aik Nagar (AHAN)”, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Production, at Siadpur village, situated in the proximity of the capital city, to market exclusively products of AHAN under their brand as a part of poverty alleviation initiative for the rural artisans.
The Prime Minister stated this while presiding over a meeting of AHAN held here at the PM House, which was attended by the Minister for Productions Anwer Ali Cheema, Ms Hina Rabbani Khar, Foreign Minister, who is also chairperson of AHAN, Shahab Khawaja, former Secretary, and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Productions and AHAN.
The Prime Minister also directed that the Board of Directors of the AHAN should be constituted at the earliest and the selection of the members must justify their expertise in the fields of history of artefacts, knowledge of entrepreneurship and the marketing.
The Prime Minister also directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to arrange exhibitions of the products of AHAN during the Presidents and Prime Minister’s visits to foreign countries. He further said that Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Commercial Attaches and the Pakistan Missions should also play an effective role in making such events worthwhile for the people of the host countries. The Prime Minister further said that the foreign missions and the commercial attaches should use their contacts and good offices to market the products of AHAN in their areas of accreditation on durable basis.
The Prime Minister said that he was happy to know that the major fashion houses and fabric designers are their customers and capturing the local market with style. The Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Productions and the Ministry of Finance to help the organization harness its full potential to benefit the poor artisans of rural areas. Its success would generate a lot of job opportunities for the rural population at their doo-steps, that will in turn discourage their migration to the urban centres already under a lot of stress and strains causing social problems, said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister also appreciated the products of AHAN and especially the embroidery work, hand knitted carpets and pottery from different parts of the country. The Prime Minister recalled that he as a Speaker of the National Assembly presented an embroidery work of art to the then lady Speaker of the House of Commons depicting beauty of Swat Valley for which she thanked Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for such an ethereal beauty during her visit to the United Kingdom.
The Foreign Minister, during the meeting, called upon AHAN to ensure quality and competitiveness in their products because these imperatives not only ensure the sustainability and also generate a lot of good will both for the country and the products so interlinked with the soft image of the country. She observed that quality products in the international market optimize the cultural diplomacy, which is the finest form diplomacy.
AHAN officials said that at present 33,000 artisans across Pakistan had been targeted and engaged by AHAN through 79 projects covering 55 districts. AHAN is currently implementing 26 projects to tap more artisans and in this regard 89 organizations have been associated. AHAN is going to open a new outlet at Lahore very soon, informed the officials of AHAN.
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