Pak to get USD 532 mn assistance for counter terrorism and economic growth: US envoy

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Islamabad, Dec 30: The US is set to grant USD 532 million aid package to Pakistan to spur economic growth, community building and counter-terrorism efforts, the American envoy here has said.

Ambassador Richard Olson told Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar yesterday that the grant will be disbursed soon as the US' Congress has already given its nod to the Obama administration. According to the finance ministry, the money will be given under the civilian assistance package-- the Kerry-Lugar Act of 2010-- which expired in September 2014.

'Pak to get USD 532 mn assistance'

Olson said the fund would be given for energy, counter- terrorism, economic growth, community building, education and health. He said the entire USD 7.5 billion assistance to Pakistan would take longer to allocate and disburse than the five-year period originally envisioned.

Earlier this year, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal told the National Assembly that Pakistan has so far received over USD 3.8 billion against the total obligation of USD 7.5 billion under the Kerry-Lugar Act.

Almost three-fourths of this money had reportedly been spent without government's oversight. Ambassador Olson also offered his condolences over the recent killings of 150 people, mostly schoolchildren, during an attack by the Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16.

Dar said the government would likely to spend a large amount of this assistance for the rehabilitation of the temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) of North Waziristan Agency where military operation was underway to flush out militants.

"The government will brief foreign donors on the rehabilitation work being undertaken for restoring the life of the displaced Waziristan tribesmen and the flood-affected population," he said.

Dar said recent monsoon-induced floods were an unforeseen calamity that would surely have an impact on country's growth projections but the government hoped to recoup under the current circumstances. Olson also discussed the agenda for the scheduled visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to Pakistan in January 2015.

PTI 

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