Tuesday, December 06, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Ambassadors from China, United States, and United Kingdom have assured Finance Minister Ishaq Dar of their full support to Pakistan in the rehabilitation of flood-hit areas as Islamabad is trying to shore up support of the international community to provide all possible relief to the calamity-stricken people.
The ambassadors held separate meetings on Tuesday with the finance minister, where matters related to bilateral relations, the economy, and the government's works in the flood-hit areas came under discussion, according to the Finance Division.
Unprecedented flash floods caused by historic monsoon rains have washed away roads, crops, infrastructure and bridges, killing over 1,000 people and affecting more than 33 million, over 15% of the country's 220 million population.
In his meeting with outgoing British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner along with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Consultant Michael Barber, Dar apprised them about the ongoing post-flood reconstruction and rehabilitation programmes.
The finance czar revealed that the overall reconstruction and rehabilitation phase is going to take five-seven fiscal years.
Senator Dar apprised the officials about the overall economic outlook of the country and also shared that Pakistan is meeting its external financial obligations and has recently repaid a $1 billion bond.
While giving a briefing about the policies and measures being undertaken by the government for safeguarding the vulnerable segments of society, Dar mentioned that the Centre has a "comprehensive and pragmatic" programme in terms of revenues and expenditures for meeting its national as well as international financial obligations.
Turner, whose tenure as the high commissioner will complete next month, commended the practical measures being undertaken by the government and offered all possible help from the British government for the people of Pakistan in mitigating the socio-economic impacts of the post-flood crisis.
Meanwhile, in his meeting with Ambassador of China to Pakistan Nong Rong, Dar highlighted the long-standing and deep-rooted relations between both countries.
"It was shared that China and Pakistan have strong bilateral ties in a number of economic avenues," the statement from the Finance Division read.
Both leaders discussed further deepening these ties in the economic as well as financial sectors.
The finance minister also expressed grief on the sad demise of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and said that it is a great loss for China as well as Pakistan as the deceased was a great friend to Islamabad.
Senator Dar told the ambassador about the ongoing reconstruction and rehabilitation programme being undertaken by the incumbent government after the deadly floods.
The finance minister commended the support of the Chinese government in these hard times and shared that the government is taking various measures to protect the vulnerable segment of society.
He also said that the Government of Pakistan has a "realistic plan" for dealing with any upcoming expenditures regarding reconstruction and rehabilitation programmes in flood-affected areas.
The finance minister further apprised the Chinese Ambassador that the government remains committed to completing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme while meeting all external debt repayments on time.
The Chinese ambassador appreciated the policy initiatives being taken by the government for sustaining and boosting fiscal and monetary stability.
He shared goodwill gestures and assured the continuous support of the Chinese government to Pakistan and added that Beijing stands with the people of Pakistan and is willing to provide every possible assistance.
The finance minister, while meeting Ambassador of the United States of America to Pakistan Donald Blome, highlighted the historic and durable bilateral relations with the US on the economic and trade front.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Finance Tariq Bajwa, Secretary Finance Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh, and other senior officers from Finance Division participated in the meeting, according to a statement.
The finance minister apprised the US ambassador about the ongoing post-flood reconstruction and rehabilitation projects being undertaken by the government.
"It was also shared that the present government is highly concerned about the well-being of the masses therefore a number of measures are being undertaken in this regard. "
Both sides, according to the statement, shared other matters of common interest as well during the meeting.
The finance minister apprised the US ambassador about the government’s comprehensive and pragmatic plans in terms of revenues and expenditures for meeting its national as well as international financial obligations.
US Ambassador Blome reciprocated the same sentiments on bilateral relations between the United States and Pakistan.
He acknowledged the huge level of economic losses being faced by Pakistan due to the flood crisis and shared that the US government stands with Pakistan in such testing times.
The finance minister commended the support of the US and said that Washington has always been a great support to Pakistan during tough times.
Senator Dar emphasised the various economic avenues in which both countries can further deepen their economic relations.