Official visit: US transfers $190m for Watan Card programme

US Deputy Secretary of State acknowledges complex relationship.


Express June 14, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


In a move to pacify the growing anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, the United States government transferred $190 million for the rehabilitation of last year’s flood-affected victims.


“We have transferred the 190 million dollars we pledged last year to the Citizen’s Damage Compensation Program,” said US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides after meeting Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh on Monday.

He also held discussions with President Asif Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar.

US assistance will be directed to the Watan Card programme, initiated by the government, to provide financial compensation to the flood victims.

“This money will go directly to help one million Pakistani families.  It will provide tangible help to the Pakistani children, women, and men in need,” said Thomas.

Last week the World Bank also announced $125 million for the Watan card programme while the UK pledged an additional 60 million pounds.

Prime Minister Gilani told the US Deputy Secretary of State that a joint strategy was required to pull the region out of crisis. Meanwhile in a separate meeting, President Asif Zardari reiterated the country’s resolve to cooperate with international forces in combating terrorism and militancy.

“It was in the interest of both the countries that relations based on respect for sovereignty, mutual trust and mutual interest should move on and carried forward in a mutually beneficial manner,” Gilani said.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2011.

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