JEDDAH - Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar held a meeting with Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Assaf to discuss matters pertaining to provision of Saudi funding for new viable development projects in Pakistan at Jeddah today.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar thanked the Finance Minister for constant support and assistance in a variety of projects in Pakistan. He particularly mentioned projects like the reconstruction of government buildings, official residences, health units, educational amenities, rehabilitation of a college, hospital and construction of a University in earth quake affected areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also highlighted that nearly half a million people have been displaced due to the military operation 'Zarb-e-Azb' against terrorists in North Waziristan. He informed 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 also 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.
Saudi Minister Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Assaf expressed willingness of Saudi Arabia to explore new opportunities and avenues for financial partnership and assistance to its brotherly country.
Saudi Finance Minister assured that Saudi Arabia values its relationship with Pakistan and would stands by it, shoulder to shoulder, whenever situation so warrants.
Later, a Protocol was signed between Saudi Fund for Development and Pakistan for financial assistance of Saudi Riyals 100 million to earthquake victims and their rehabilitation. The protocol was signed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Assaf.
The total Saudi financial assistance for earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation through ERRA has now risen to an amount of Saudi Riyals 600 million.