Tehran visit: Zardari likely to take up unmet $330m Iranian pledge

Published: December 6, 2012

President Zardari will also hold talks with his French counterpart Francois Hollande on bilateral issues during his forthcoming visit to France next week. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

During talks with his Iranian counterpart during an upcoming visit to Tehran, President Asif Ali Zardari is likely to take up the issue of $330 million in pledged Iranian financial assistance to Pakistan that never made it to the country.

Four years since Iran pledged $330 million at an international donors’ conference in Tokyo, Japan – one of two major global initiatives launched to support Pakistan’s fragile economy and help it fight terrorism – even the modalities for the $10 million grant and $320 million loan have yet to be finalised due to a lukewarm approach by Iran, according to official documents obtained by The Express Tribune.

Both sides were close to an agreement on the utilisation of the grant component, when, in August this year, Iranian embassy’s deputy head of mission informed Pakistan that Tehran had decided that the grant should not be used for health and education sector projects in Balochistan. Instead, he said Islamabad should propose a few fresh projects across the country.

Pakistan also forwarded three major projects to Tehran for partial funding under the $320 million loan component. The projects include $718 million to establish a power transmission line through which Iran will export 1,000 megawatts of electricity, $100 million for the construction of Nushki-Dalbandin road in Balochistan and $700 million for the up-gradation of the Quetta-Taftan railway track.

A Zardari

According to a government official, the issue of financial assistance was included in President Zardari’s talking points for the upcoming visit, but it was not confirmed whether the president would take up the issue.

Recently, the Iranian vice president cancelled his visit to Pakistan after Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh refused to sit with the Iranian delegation. The visit was meant to discuss important agreements between the two countries, including the pledged assistance by Iran.

Meanwhile, Economic Affairs Division Secretary Javed Iqbal said that Pakistan has time and again raised this issue with Iran. He added that the Iranian side reiterated its commitment and assured to fast track the process in a recent meeting with Iran’s finance minister on the sidelines of IMF annual meetings, which were recently held in Tokyo.

A majority of commitments made at the international donors’ conference failed to materialise. According to budget documents, Pakistan received less than $1.3 billion out of the total pledges of $5.1 billion made by nearly 30 countries and international lending agencies.

This will

In 2010, the country received Rs95.7 billion, the amount dropped to Rs13.7 billion in 2011, and to Rs5 billion in 2012. For the current financial year, economic managers have received approximately Rs1.1 billion – most donors honouring only 25% of their pledges. The assistance package of $5.1 billion offered in Tokyo is going to expire next fiscal year.

France visit

Meanwhile, President Zardari will also hold talks with his French counterpart Francois Hollande on bilateral issues during his forthcoming visit to France next week, an official source said. The meeting is expected to take place on December 11 in Paris, where Zardari is due to co-host an international event called “Stand up for Malala” with Unesco on December 10.

This will be the third engagement between Zardari and the French leadership, following his two earlier visits to Paris in May 2009 and August 2010. However, it will be the first bilateral meeting between President Zardari and Francois Hollande after the latter’s election to the presidency in May this year.

The Afghan imbroglio is expected to dominate talks between the two presidents  despite French withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan this year. (With additional reporting by Qaiser Butt)

Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2012.

Reader Comments (12)

  • Nadir
    Dec 6, 2012 - 5:09AM

    Stop day dreaming. Iran has no money to spare. Their forex reserves are dwindling and they cant access most of the global financial system. They arnt going to dish out any aid.

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  • Singh
    Dec 6, 2012 - 5:20AM

    Asking country a money which is already under all kind of sanction is laughable.

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  • Gujjar
    Dec 6, 2012 - 6:13AM

    Still waiting for the handouts. Why dont fix the economy and governance.

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  • Muhammad
    Dec 6, 2012 - 6:52AM

    Co-chairman of PPP on party funding trip for upcoming election

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  • Polpot
    Dec 6, 2012 - 7:00AM

    “In 2010, the country received Rs95.7 billion, the amount dropped to Rs13.7 billion in 2011, and to Rs5 billion in 2012. For the current financial year, economic managers have received approximately Rs1.1 billion”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    The donors vote with their wallets.
    In any case the official policy of Pakistan is trade and not aid!.

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  • Dec 6, 2012 - 7:05AM

    Why Pakistan has become international beggar. Pakistan must tax the rich people in the country to raise the funds and to pay back foreign loans that is the way western countries do.They tax their own people and raise the funds.Minimum tax in USA is around 30% of your pay check, maximum is 50%.Taxes are federal, state, city, social security tax, sales tax. Federal tax is 10-35%’ state tax 4-8%, city tax 2-7%, sales tax 6-8%, social security tax is 6.2%. Some states do not have tax but you might be paying more sales tax. No govt can survive with out taxes.In the end instead of becoming beggar, Pakistan has to tax the rich people.Recommend

  • Waseem
    Dec 6, 2012 - 7:10AM

    Good thing, he has an EYE for money!!

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  • Moosa Khan
    Dec 6, 2012 - 7:42AM

    Please do not put that closeup photo again. It hurts.
    Its funny to beg money from a country under sanctions. This habit of begging will never go away.

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  • Polpot
    Dec 6, 2012 - 8:24AM

    Bill Collector knocking at the door
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What all does the Presidente have to do !

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  • Observer
    Dec 6, 2012 - 12:39PM

    @Shahid Butt:

    Taxing the rich isn’t going to do help that much. Pakistan’s per capita GDP is about $1000. That mean if each Pakistani will make only about $1000 a year if all the national gdp is equally distributed.

    Pakistan has to learn to live within its means. Already, it has accumulated an external debt of over $60B. Internal debt is about $40B. Taxing the rich alone is not going to help in eliminating these debts quickly. Pakistan has to change its national priorities from being a security state to one of an economic welfare state that focuses on education, social and economic uplift of its people.

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  • Monarchian
    Dec 7, 2012 - 5:03AM

    Well, Firstly Everybody should understand one thing here, nothing can be improved just like that. All we need at first place to bring solidarity among ourselves. Please stop this criticism culture, this is what we all have been doing for past 65 years. Every Great nation has passed through these difficult times.

    We should work on improving our ties with Our Neighbors and Far Reaching Countries, both trade wise and politically,

    We should keep our differences aside be it on the name of religion, culture, other divides and stand up to help this country prove its Existence.

    We know what kind of crises we have been facing and we should also consider the problems that Government do face whilst dealing with state affairs and external pressures. So, atleast first stop protesting about if something good those guys want to do for everybody. I have been hearing about the Bhasha Dam for years and the political opposition. And, pick up anything, its we who don;t let those guys to do something for us then why protesting now.

    I am just an ordinary Pakistani Like You, but I still see the Potential in Stabilized Pakistan despite all odds, but its contingent upon our attitude towards the problems we have in our hands.

    Stop hating culture and favor every element atleast for the sake of being a Pakistani that is for the betterment of Pakistan.

    Long Live Pakistan !!

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  • Dec 7, 2012 - 6:43AM

    @Monarchian:
    Thanks for your input.shahid

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