Pakistan looks to Saudi Arabia, UAE for assistance in tribal areas

Published: August 21, 2011

Government relies on foreign funding to help IDPs return to the tribal areas. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

PESHAWAR: 

After facing delays and threats of cuts in assistance from the United States, Pakistan has decided to add Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the list of allies from whom it will seek funding for development projects in the tribal areas as well as money to help with the repatriation of internally displaced persons.

At a background briefing, a high-ranking military official said that the government has spent about Rs45 billion to help people affected by the campaign against the militants in various part the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

“Of this amount, Rs10 billion was provided by Saudi Arabia alone,” said the official. “The money required to assist refugees returning to Kurram by August 25 is also part of this funding.”

Relations between Riyadh and Islamabad have been on a downturn since 2008, partly due to the Zardari administration’s efforts at rapprochement with Tehran, the principle Gulf rival to Saudi Arabia.

However, the new partnership on refugees is seen as a sign of a patch up between the two countries.

The official claimed that all active military operations in Fata have been completed, which is why the government has begun focusing on development and reconstruction, and seeking foreign assistance.

“We have been promised $100 million (Rs8.6 billion) by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for this purpose, and we expect to receive the money over the next few days,” he said. On August 12, President Asif Ali Zardari enacted several changes to the way Fata is governed to give the citizens of the area more rights and curb some of the most regressive elements of the Frontier Crimes Regulations, a colonial era piece of legislation that is based on ancient tribal customs.

The changes, according to the official, were part of the government’s effort to develop the tribal regions and improve their governance.

“The newly-appointed political agents and the Fata Secretariat have been told to focus on the development of the tribal areas, prior to anything else,” he said. “This money will be very handy in helping them produce results.”

Despite hundreds of thousands of people returning to their homes since 2010, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are still 896,000 internally displaced people in Pakistan.

Many of the IDPs from Mohmand, Bajaur and South Waziristan had earlier refused to return to their villages from camps in other parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. They said that their homes were destroyed and demanded compensation from the government before they would return. Many also feared that the security situation in their areas had not really improved.

The government now provides rations, tents, bedding as well as cash to every family that chooses to return, in addition to providing them transportation.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2011.

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Reader Comments (42)

  • Saleem
    Aug 21, 2011 - 11:19AM

    Why don’t we learn from our experiences? militancy and extremism has mostly been due to Saudi version of Faith propagated in Pakistan. Cant we spare a few million dollars on our own to help the tribal areas or we cant just resist begging?

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  • rameed
    Aug 21, 2011 - 11:36AM

    The begging bowl that is Pakistan ever since is prepared to take money from two of only three countries (Pakistan being the third) that gave international recognition to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in the 1990s. How fitting, especially when one thinks that the militancy which has been plaguing Pakistan was spawned and fed by the Wahabi thought that finds its origin in the Arab world. So Pakistan enacts new laws in FATA, and let’s the Saudis and the Emiratis defray the costs of cleaning up the mess created by the latter. Very convenient indeed! No to America violating Pakistan’s sovereignty and dictating to its government through aid with strings attached, but yes to the Arabs doing the same thing to Pakistan.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Aug 21, 2011 - 11:41AM

    Don’t we already know what they think of us as per Wikileaks?? Why go down this path again. If Gilani and Zardari can reform themselves maybe they would not need to solicit help from others.

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  • Frank
    Aug 21, 2011 - 12:04PM

    For Christ’s sake, we need less Saudi involvement in Pakistan not more.

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  • Kamran
    Aug 21, 2011 - 12:14PM

    BAKWAS! Saudi Arabia should not give any money to such a corrupt administration like ours….. they took money from the flood work- how low can you go? This is just an excuse of milking more money for their own pockets.

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  • Sudhir
    Aug 21, 2011 - 12:29PM

    @Saleem:
    Don’t fool yourself.There is only one real and true version of this faith and it is Saudi Version as Saudi Arabians invented Islam so their Islam is real Islam and your version is the polluted one influenced by major religion of region ie Hinduism.

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  • wah wah
    Aug 21, 2011 - 12:54PM

    ah the irony of it… asking two top sponsors of extremism to help with peace? the arabs already rule us by proxy. i guess being ruled by external forces is ingrained in our blood and after the end of british raj we have continuously found other foreign masters to decide our fate. Happy independence indeed.

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  • Jal
    Aug 21, 2011 - 1:03PM

    hAHAHAHA….Saudi Arabia is supporting terrorism in South Punjab and Khyber….what else do you need……..

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  • Tahir Amjad
    Aug 21, 2011 - 1:53PM

    Shame on those alleging Saudia for supporting extrmeism in pakistan..Saudis are our time tested brothers who have always been in forefront to help Pakistan in any time of need.

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  • ali
    Aug 21, 2011 - 2:42PM

    There is nothing wrong if money is spent on development work. Tribal areas are extremely poor; they wont mind the source of money

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  • Khalid Rahim
    Aug 21, 2011 - 2:57PM

    The funding from these two Hannbali states may be great but their indoctrination to switch the local tribes from Hanafi school to Hanbali is something to take seriously. The influence of their school since late General Zia ul Haq’s introduction of Islam in Pakistan? We have lost all sense of direction.

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  • Khalid Rahim
    Aug 21, 2011 - 3:09PM

    @Sudhir:
    First study the four Islamic schools of Jurisprudence and you will find that Hannbali school is
    the last enacted and only followed mainly in Saudi Arabia and UAE. Infact it was enforced on the people of Hejaz Province by the Saudi Rulers from the 30s. Now if your remarks to Saleem were mere pun then its OK. A lot of social Hindu customs in regard to marriages and other social events had been adopted and vice-versa. Just make sure you wear good eye protection when you throw dust across the wind.

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  • let there be peace
    Aug 21, 2011 - 4:58PM

    Pakistan looks to Saudi Arabia, UAE for assistance in tribal areas

    – like more recruits and more share of zakat for jihad?

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  • Tahir
    Aug 21, 2011 - 6:16PM

    its the saudi wahabi islam that has pakistan and afghanistan in all this mess in the first place, The uneducated are easily influenced and the Wahabi system makes sure they stay that way for generations and all that breeds is ignorance and violence.

    I am a pakistani and the majority of us are tired of fighting, tired of extremist views, tired of our people dying for no good reason other than religion, we are tired of this brand of islam and want it gone as far away from us as possible

    I have visited saudi arabia and it is a stone age country with barbaric islamic laws, we dont want none of that, we want progress and peace. Not an islamic state.

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  • Abdul Mannan
    Aug 21, 2011 - 7:14PM

    I am really thankful to Saudi Arabia and the UAE and other friendly countries for their help to Pakistan.While we should be thankful to our frinds we must try to repay them for what they have been doing for us.It is however unfortunate that their assistance has not been utilised properly and in a transparent way.That is the reason what has been received from our friends is not visible on the ground.People of Pakistan must know what our friends have been doing for us and the least we can do for them is we must be thankful to them for their help.Again how long we shall continue living on donations from our friends.It is really a shame that we are famous all over the world for corruption ,bad governance and terrorism .And inspite of all the problems we are facing we are still not on the right track.We always talk of saving the system and what is the use of this system which has given us humiliation and problems.We are proud of our relations with the UAE and Saudi Arabia for their help.We should always remember their help.Iran is our neighbour and we should promote our relations with Iran .It is in the interest of both the countries.So for about the beliefs of our friends,they follow the teachings of the prophet and all the muslims are free to follow as they feel correct.

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  • Shah
    Aug 21, 2011 - 8:01PM

    Saudi and UAE money has always gone towards evolving extremism in Pakistan. We should break these chains!!!

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  • tanoli
    Aug 21, 2011 - 8:20PM

    wahabi islam is true islam and if iran is very good friend of pak and zardari then why dont
    he help pakistan shia iran is munafiq in other word is sweet talk only pakistan since its birth been true help by saudia and U.A.E and even kuwait also and true islam is wahabi islam with out any crruption.Recommend

  • tanoli
    Aug 21, 2011 - 8:37PM

    saudis and other gulf nation money is running the world economy american banks have
    three trillion there money and pakistan since its birth owes saudia.Recommend

  • Irshad Khan
    Aug 21, 2011 - 8:59PM

    Will they not ask for reducing our un-necessary expenditures?

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  • mz
    Aug 21, 2011 - 9:00PM

    development fund from saudi arabia n uae?
    development of whom ? taliban or tribals?

    for so long pakistan has been the battle field for uae saudia and iran!! all 3 promoting extremism and sectarian voilence..

    if saudia has a brotherly relation with pakistan then it should stop funding terrorists and sunni shia extremists that are killing pakistan!
    for God’s sake spend a few american Aid dollars residing in minister’s swiss accounts!

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  • Mirza
    Aug 21, 2011 - 9:53PM

    The Saudis have not completed their job as yet. Let us increase the cooperation to further the terrorism in Paksitan! We would never learn even after all the blood baths.

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  • BruteForce
    Aug 21, 2011 - 10:00PM

    Now this is very funny indeed. Asking the people who funded the Terrorists to help fight them.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/173744/wikileaks-saudi-arabia-uae-funded-extremist-networks-in-pakistan/

    So, as long as you are a Muslim state and have tons of money you are absolved of your crime. Say if India or Israel had done the same thing Pakistan would have gone crazy.

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  • Mohan Ram
    Aug 21, 2011 - 10:02PM

    @rameed:
    Do you understand – “one for development and two for us”

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  • malik
    Aug 22, 2011 - 12:27AM

    “These people have lots of money and so, why the hell can’t they give a little to me?”

    a beggar near a traffic signal talking about rich people whizzing past in their cars
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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Aug 22, 2011 - 1:25AM

    Why are we asking them for help (with development) when they are the root cause of an financiers of radicalism in Pakistan?

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  • Tariq
    Aug 22, 2011 - 3:49AM

    Mr Tahir has summed it up beautifully, however I will add that we need to get away from Saudi version of Islam and instead take up the Turkish system as a role model.

    Donors from Saudi and gulf states are directly responsible for mAking this mess in Pakistan. Please do not send privTe donations to suspect geoups

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  • faraz
    Aug 22, 2011 - 5:17AM

    Money for poor tribals should be accepted whether given by Saudis, US or Zionists.

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  • Arindom
    Aug 22, 2011 - 6:35AM

    The great secret of this decade is how mercilessly the Saudis have cacked down on the Al Qaeda and other armed extremists in their country! If anything near even started in Pakistan, it will be deemed ‘un-Islamic’. Here lies the irony!

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  • Amjad
    Aug 22, 2011 - 8:17AM

    @Kamran: The Gulf Arabs and the Saudis owe a great deal to Pakistan and Pakistan enjoys friendly relationship with them. Providing they do not interfere in our internal affairs why not solicit support from our allies. Their safety also depends upon Pakistan in times of need. As for being corrupt, have you not seen that all of the Arab countries are far more corrupt than any corruption we can possibly imagine in Pakistan. Go and check how much money Mubarak and his sons in Egypt looted, Ben Ali looted in Tunisia, Gaddafi and sons in Libya or Asaad in Syria. Looting in Pakistan is small potatoes to what Arab despots and rulers loot from their states.

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  • fahim
    Aug 22, 2011 - 9:13AM

    we are back to what we do best… professioinal begging from others. This time Chinese and US would be happy that we have sound some other sources to beg.

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  • BraveHeart
    Aug 22, 2011 - 9:52AM

    @Tahir
    Sir before you speak about wahabis and all that go and study who is following islam the best?
    They the Wahabis Dont build shrines Our Prophet PBUH Dint ask us to
    They the Wahabis pray namaz slowly and the way our Prophet PBUH has told Us to
    They The Wahabis dont say naats Our Prophet never asked us to
    They The Wahabis spend more money on poor then u can imagine
    They The Wahabis dont do anything in the name of Islam that our Prophet PBUH dint ask us to
    They The Wahabis are the pure of people for following Islam
    no offence but if you look at every other sect they have created acts that are not supported and are not told by our Prophet PBUH and are not part of ISLAM

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  • Truth Prevails
    Aug 22, 2011 - 6:30PM

    @Saleem:
    Off-course Islam first came to Saudi Arabia … why would there be any other version acceptable to human at all … Do you accept the American version, or Israeli version of Islam ?

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  • hassan
    Aug 22, 2011 - 6:30PM

    Saudis and UAE need us more than we need them because of our geographical advantage !!

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  • BUTT
    Aug 22, 2011 - 11:42PM

    Excellent brave heart……..majority of these people in our region are influenced by Hindu culture…..they will never accept the true Islam form….

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  • Dinesh
    Aug 22, 2011 - 11:59PM

    @BraveHeart:
    well done QC passed. Ready to market this product.Recommend

  • Najib
    Aug 23, 2011 - 12:37AM

    Begging Bowl here we come, just imagine yourself at a traffic junction with a bowl with your kids in your lap tapping the windows of every passing car. This is what we are gentlemen & ladies. There is no solution available for us to somehow think off getting away from this detested profession of bribery. Recommend

  • demosthenes
    Aug 23, 2011 - 7:48AM

    As long as Pakistan accepts money from other countries that have agendas of their own then Pakistan is not free. It’s a pawn, a puppet and subject to the demands of the cash. Money talks.
    Pakistan needs to earn it’s own funds, cease corruption and waste and pledge it’s military power for defense only and thus can reduce military expenditures by billions!

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  • Tariq Majid
    Aug 23, 2011 - 7:53AM

    This so too unreal. I had to read this twice. So we ask the Saudis who have created the Wahabi culture here for help.

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  • M I Khan
    Aug 23, 2011 - 8:54AM

    Saudi and UAE are the source of the problem, not its solution!

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  • Peace
    Aug 23, 2011 - 11:06AM

    First Amreeeca then China. now KSA + UAE… Next What.. Sudan, Yemen, Libya?

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  • A J Khan
    Aug 23, 2011 - 11:26AM

    .Saudi Arabia and UAE have sponsored militants and extremists in Pakistan. Their cronies have destroyed Schools and established madrissas for violence in society. They can keep the money up their sleeves.
    Pakistanis asking for aid from these countries should have a second thought. The money which come in aid or as a loan from these two countries lands in the pockets of corrupt bureaucracy and extremist clerics.
    Pakistan is a big country with all the God given resources. All we have to do is to get rid of Militants and their cronies and limit the bureaucracy in size and role.

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  • JAHANDAD
    Oct 5, 2011 - 7:09PM

    begger of one time is slave of all times,,,. one day of tiger life is better than 100 yrs life for a jackal,,,.pls be patriotic,, no one should be allowedto interfere, or guide our policies, we are free and proud pakistanis,.just take the money back from theses corrupt thugs ,who have stolen billions of dollars of our tax money,,and are stillmasking their black faces behind some very noble positions of exacatives,ministers…USA,OR KSA, OR UAE, no one is your friend, its just how much requested petty you can be in front of any of theses before they throw a few dollors at you,.they use us for their own policies and exploit our sincerity,..rely only on your own empty belly, donot BOW your head except for ALLAH, trust and ask help only fromALLAH,. AND YOU LIVE LIKE A LIONRecommend

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