U.N. seeks $100 million Saudi pledge for Pakistan

The United Nations has asked Saudi Arabia to release the US$100 million it pledged to support relief work in the conflict-affected areas in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province.

Shahnaz Javed Mahmood

2009-10-20

KARACHI — The U.N. has asked Saudi Arabia to release US$100 million to support relief efforts in the conflict-affected areas in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), the U.N. Office in Pakistan announced on Oct. 13.

“A high-level U.N. mission travelled to the Kingdom to discuss allocation of the funds pledged in September,” the statement said, quoting head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Pakistan, Manuel Bessler.

More than 2.7 million people have been displaced since the start of the government’s offensive against the Taliban in June 2008, a million of whom either still reside with host families or in 19 camps supported by the international community. Approximately 1.6 million people have returned to their homes since July, but the recently launched military operations in South Waziristan continue to generate new displacements.

To date, more than 20 countries, organisations and donors have provided 60 percent of the $680 million pledged by donors for the Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan.

“Saudi Arabia has pledged more than $300 million in assistance for Pakistan, including a $100 million donation to support relief work in terror-hit areas,” said Pakistani Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Oct. 14. The pledge was made at a U.N. donors’ conference in September.

The Friends of Democratic Pakistan have agreed to provide $13 billion over the next five years to enable the government to fight recession, the war on terror and expedite rehabilitation in the NWFP, he said. Pakistan expects the release of about $1.8 billion pledged funds during the remaining 2009/2010 fiscal year that ends next June 30, he added.

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