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US to grant aid worth $532 million to Pakistan

Just weeks before US Secretary of State John Kerry is to visit Islamabad in Jan next year, Pakistan will soon be granted US aid worth USD 532 million under the Kerry-Lugar assistance package, reports said Tuesday.



Islamabad: Just weeks before US Secretary of State John Kerry is to visit Islamabad in Jan next year, Pakistan will soon be granted US aid worth USD 532 million under the Kerry-Lugar assistance package, reports said Tuesday.

The announcement of aid was made by US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson, who is in Pakistan to discuss agenda ahead of Kerry's visit in Jan 2015.

The US Congress has notified the Obama administration to release $532 million to Pakistan to spur economic growth, community building and counter-terrorism efforts, the American envoy told Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar yesterday.

According to the finance ministry, the money will be given under the civilian assistance package-- the Kerry-Lugar Act of 2010-- which expired in September 2014.
Olson said the fund would be given for energy, counter- terrorism, economic growth, community building, education and health.

He said the entire USD 7.5 billion assistance to Pakistan would take longer to allocate and disburse than the five-year period originally envisioned.

Earlier this year, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal told the National Assembly that Pakistan has so far received over USD 3.8 billion against the total obligation of USD 7.5 billion under the Kerry-Lugar Act. Almost three-fourths of this money had reportedly been spent without government's oversight.

Ambassador Olson also offered his condolences over the recent killings of 150 people, mostly schoolchildren, during an attack by the Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16.

Dar said the government would likely to spend a large amount of this assistance for the rehabilitation of the temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) of North Waziristan Agency where military operation was underway to flush out militants.

"The government will brief foreign donors on the rehabilitation work being undertaken for restoring the life of the displaced Waziristan tribesmen and the flood-affected population," he said.

With PTI inputs

From Zee News

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