Premier Shehbaz Sharif pledges transparency in flood aid spending

Shehbaz - The News Today - TNT

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday lauded the team’s work at the Geneva Conference and assured that the international financial aid committed by Geneva moot participants would be used in a transparent manner for the rehabilitation of the flood victims.

Addressing a press conference in the capital city, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, flanked by federal ministers, said the Geneva Conference was a success and it had been so due to the prayers and good intentions of the nation.


He assured that the government would make utmost efforts for the rehabilitation of the flood victims. He said the biggest aid announcement worth $4.2 billion came from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) followed by $2bn from the World Bank, $1bn from the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIDB), $500 million from the Asian Development Bank, $77m from Japan, €23m from Italy, and $25m in aid were announced by Qatar.

The premier said Saudi Arabia also pledged $1bn and the government of Pakistan was thankful to the kingdom for their time-tested support in the hour of need. He said the United States had also announced $100m for flood victims.

Shehbaz Sharif also thanked Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Minister of Climate Change Sherry Rehman and Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb for their efforts to convince the international financial institutions and the governments to open their coffers. He said the political rivals left no stone unturned to weaken Pakistan and created divisions among the people.

The premier said that the world reposed trust in Pakistan despite the worst propaganda against the government, crediting his team for the success. “The ball is now in our court. We now have to transparently spend every single penny on the people’s prosperity.”

He said the presence of the representatives of all the provinces at the conference sent the message to the world that “we are united”. “The global community showed confidence in the coalition government of Pakistan.”

The prime minister hailed Saudi Crown Prince Mohamad Bin Salman for his continuous assistance to Pakistan and generous support.

“The perception created by some people that the country is alone was busted as both the superpowers were standing right and left,” he added.

When asked about the conditions of these funds pledges at the conference, the prime minister said IDB’s terms will be soft.

Slamming the provincial governments for failing to handle the flour crisis, the prime minister said wheat stocks were enough to meet the demands of the country but the local authorities couldn’t manage the situation.

“We were not sitting idle. This is a provincial matter and they should answer for this.”

He also rubbished the claim that the top functionaries of the provinces where the PTI is ruling were ignored by the PDM government.

“Sindh was the most affected province from the floods then comes Balochistan. Chief secretary was there to represent the provincial government.”

He said that there was no flood in Azad Jammu and Kashmir while Gilgit-Baltistan’s Ghaddar area was affected, adding Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Finance Minster Taimur Jhagra was also present at the conference.

About the worsening law and order situation in KP, the prime minister said the National Security Committee (NSC) discussed the issue in detail.

“To restore peace in the country is the responsibility of federal and provincial government.”

He once again thanked the UN secretary-general for forcefully pleading the case of Pakistan at the Geneva conference.

About his upcoming visit to the UAE, Shehbaz Sharif said he is visiting the Gulf state tomorrow and expressed confidence that it will help further augment bilateral relations between the two countries.

Speaking on the occasion, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, pointing toward PM Shehbaz, said “your foreign policy has been successful”.

The top Pakistani diplomat, who was with the premier at the conference, said the government achieved two targets with one shot.

The support from the international community proved that Pakistan is not isolated as propagated by the government’s rivals, indirectly referring to the PTI.

“The world is ready to invest over $9 billion in Pakistan and the impression about the country’s economy has also been buried through the conference.”

The PPP chairman added that now they would put in concerted efforts and help flood victims to steer them out of the crisis.

Bilawal Bhutto said that the world is in a crisis due to the Ukraine war.

“We still need support on humanitarian grounds. A cold wave is expected in flood-hit areas where people are living under the sky.” He appealed to help the victims.

The foreign minister assured the flood-affected population that their recovery and rehabilitation is the mission of the government.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the time frame of three years has been set for the reconstruction phase.

He said both the federal and provincial governments from their development budgets will also contribute funds for this purpose.

As regards the economic situation of the country, Ishaq Dar said that a detailed meeting has been held with the International Monetary Fund.

He said Pakistan faces no threat of default and there is nothing to worry. “All the external debt liabilities will be made on time.”

Read more: PML-N leadership meet in Geneva; discusses Punjab, political situation

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