`Friendly Muslim country` gives Pakistan $1.5 bn
Islamabad: The unexpected surge in the value of Pakistani rupee against the dollar was mainly because of a whopping USD 1.5 billion deposit in Pakistan Development Fund by a "friendly Muslim country".
Though officials remained tightlipped about the identity of the country, people speculated that it was Saudi Arabia.
"A friendly Muslim country has confidence in Pakistan and its leadership and deposited USD 1.5 billion in the PDF," Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told reporters yesterday.
Dar claimed PDF contributions, actions against exporters who were withholding export receipts abroad and warnings to exchange market speculators helped recoup the depleted foreign currency reserves to USD 9.52 billion.
Dar said better foreign currency reserves position strengthened the value of rupee against the US dollar bringing it to a record low of Rs 97.90 yesterday.
Though the one dollar traded at 98 Pakistani rupee in the open market yesterday, it was 100 today. On March 11, Business Recorder daily had reported, "The fact that Saudi Arabia has extended a grant/loan of USD 1.5 billion would also contribute positively to our reserve position with a positive impact on the rupee value".
Dar had announced the creation of the new fund on February 18, the same day Saudi crown prince and Deputy Prime Minister Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud concluded a three-day- visit to Pakistan.
When asked about the identity of the country, Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam today said, "About the Finance Minister`s statement, no, I am not aware which country he is referring to.
"With many countries, there are discussions for large scale investments in Pakistan. These countries include the Gulf countries and Turkey. I do not know frankly, which country was referred to."
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