Dar discusses Saudi funding for ‘development’ in Pakistan

JEDDAH, Saudi Arab – Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Senator Ishaq Dar held a meeting with Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Assaf here on Friday and discussed with him matters pertaining to provision of Saudi funding for new viable development projects in Pakistan.

Senator Dar thanked Minister Assaf for continued Saudi support and assistance in various projects in Pakistan. He specifically mentioned projects like reconstruction of government buildings, official residences, health units, educational amenities, rehabilitation of a college, hospital and re-construction of damaged Azad Jammu Kashmir University.

The minister also highlighted that nearly half a million people have been displaced due to the military operation `Zarb-e-Azb' against militants in North Waziristan tribal areas. He said that tens of thousands of families have moved to the town of Bannu, close to North Waziristan, while hundreds more have moved further to Lakki Marwat, Karak and Dera Ismail Khan, since the offensive began in mid-June.

He said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has set up Prime Minister's Relief Fund for providing financial help to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of North Waziristan. Both the ministers also reviewed progress on power generation plant at Neelum Jhelum and export of Saudi fertilizer to Pakistan. Al-Assaf expressed willingness of Saudi Arabia to explore new opportunities and avenues for financial partnership and assistance to its brotherly country.

Later, a protocol was also signed between Pakistan and the Saudi Fund for Development for financial assistance of 100 million Saudi riyals to earthquake victims and their rehabilitation. The protocol was signed by Ishaq Dar and Ibrahim Al-Assaf. The total Saudi financial assistance for earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation through ERRA has now risen to an amount of 600 million Saudi riyals.

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