Dar asks opposition to stop moaning about Saudi grant


ISLAMABAD: Annoyed over the continuous queries about $1.5 billion Saudi aid, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar appealed to the opposition parties to refrain from spreading negative sentiments about what he dubbed “gifted money” from a friendly country without having any strings.
Speaking in National Assembly to respond to the speculations about the Sauid aid, Dar also categorically stated on behalf of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that Pakistan would not send troops any country and all such talks are merely speculations. Dar who twice took the floor to explain about the Sauid financial assistance looked a bit uneasy after lawmaker of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) cast doubts about Sauid aid and emphasized upon them to avoid such negative statements as it might hurt the “benefactor” of the country.
“What our friendly country will think about the negativity being spread in response to its friendly gesture in the hour of need”, Dar opined and stressed that sense of responsibility should prevail about it. Giving details of the financial aid which Dar continuously said from a friendly country rather than taking the name of Sauid Arabia is final so far. “No further amount is in the pipeline yet. However if it comes it would be welcomed”, Dar told the house.
He said that the first tranche of 750 million dollars was received on 19th of February while the second tranche was transferred on the 7th of this month. This transaction took place from one Central Bank to the other and was submitted in Pakistan Development Fund (PDF). Responding angrily to the remarks of “begging bowl” the government is carrying around the world, Dar said that to go to financial institutions was not a “begging bowl” but it was the one which was moved in the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) in the previous government.
Expressing satisfaction over the economic performance of past eight months, Ishaq Dar said that tax collection, home remittances and exports have witnessed a growth during this period. He said the positive economic indicators have also restored the confidence of the international financial institutions. These institutions are now declaring Pakistan as an attractive place for investment. Finance Minister announced that the government has decided to float Euro Bond in the international market in the first week of next month keeping in view the confidence expressed by the foreign investors.
PPP’s Syed Naveed Qamar taking the floor expressed the reservations over the speculations that Pakistan is taking a partisan approach over Syria and warned that any such shift would be disastrous for the country. About strings-free Saudai aid, Qamar said that conditions are not in written form in such deals and noted that a clear tilt is being witnessed towards Saudi Arabia which would not he good sign for multi-sect country like Pakistan.
PTI’s Shah Mahmood Querashi called upon Prime Minister and Defence Minister to make a categorical statement on the political side of this aid like the financial one explained by Ishaq Dar. MQM’s Dr. Farooq Sattar said that it is beyond comprehension why a country would dole out money without conditions. “There is no free lunch in the world”, Sattar noted. He believed that foreign countries are fighting their proxy wars in the country and we have been sitting idle to do any action to stop it. Mahmood Khan Ackakzai said that ambiguous statements would not remove the apprehensions and urged that Pakistan should not jump into Syria conflict at any cost at the behest of others.

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