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Bill Gates looks forward to deepening ties with Pakistan

06 Apr, 2022
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates calls on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad on February 17. PID/File
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates calls on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad on February 17. PID/File

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has expressed his desire to further “deepen partnership” with the Pakistani government and tackle health and other “issues of shared interest” through his organisation.

Gates, who is the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, expressed such views in a letter to President Arif Alvi who shared the letter on his Twitter account on Tuesday.

“I commend your ongoing, high-level commitment to protecting the health and well-being of every child in Pakistan, including the work to secure a polio-free future for generations of children to come,” read the letter.

Gates on February 17 visited Pakistan on his first-ever trip to the country and met with PM Imran Khan. During his trip he also visited the NCOC, and attended a luncheon with several prominent dignitaries. He was also honoured with the Hilal-e-Pakistan for his services.

In his letter to the president, Gates, who is a co-founder of Microsoft, lauded the government’s efforts in polio eradication. But, he also pointed out the circulation of the virus in southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He was of the view that the continued engagement would go a long way to accelerating the country’s continued progress.

“I am so glad we had the opportunity to discuss other challenges of vital importance, particularly tackling stunting and malnutrition, access to family planning services and commodities, and effective targeting of social protection programmes such as Ehsaas,” it read.

According to the NCOC, the American billionaire philanthropist had lauded the centre’s efforts during his visit. “Gates took keen interest on various initiatives by NCOC, particularly smart lockdown and micro-smart lockdown strategy enforcement measures and Pakistan’s vaccine administration regime which enabled NCOC to formulate and implement a comprehensive Covid response,” it had said in a statement.