English News


Is $8 billion donor pledge to cash-strapped Pakistan only good PR?

Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is currently in Geneva to attend an international Conference on ‘Climate Resilient Pakistan’ along with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, has managed to secure $8 billion from bilateral and multilateral partners over the next three years to recover from the damages caused by the floods last year. Pakistan, which currently has foreign exchange reserves of about $4.5 billion, is staring at bankruptcy.

While the World Bank World Bank pledged $2 billion, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) committed $4.2 billion. The Asian Development Bank has pledged another $1 billion. Sources said that while multilateral and bilateral agencies have committed assistance, it is not an assurance for the cash starved country which is also battling political and security challenges at home.

Guterres too “appealed to the world to help Pakistan deal with the disaster caused by cataclysmic floods, saying ‘massive investments’ are needed for the country’s rehabilitation which is expected to cost more than $16 billion,” the News said.

Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman and Information Minister Marryium Aurangzeb have also accompanied Sharif to Geneva.

Officials from several other countries as well as multilateral agencies and financial institutions are also present in Geneva as Sharif seeks support to steer out of the economic crisis.

Dar is likely to have a meeting with International Monetary Fund authorities on the sidelines of the conference as well. Sharif is set to visit the UAE on his way back from Geneva, as Islamabad is hoping to get financial assistance from the Gulf nations. Earlier Dar said that Pakistan would receive $3 billion from Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Army Chief General Syed Asim Munir is already in Saudi Arabia to hold talks with top officials of the kingdom.

Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves are now not enough even to cover a month’s imports.

The Express Tribune said the United Nations Development Programme had estimated that around $16.3 billion would be required to rebuild millions of homes and thousands of kilometres of roads and railway bridges.