x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

International group meeting to secure aid for Pakistan

The second Friends of Pakistan meeting is being held today in Abu Dhabi, with the aim of securing aid for the South Asian country only two days after it clinched a $7.6bn loan from the IMF.

ABU DHABI // The second Friends of Pakistan meeting is being held today in Abu Dhabi, with the aim of securing aid for the South Asian country only two days after it clinched a US$7.6 billion (Dh28bn) loan from the IMF. Representatives from Britain, the United States, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Australia, Turkey, Italy and China are likely to pledge support for Pakistan's fight against terrorism and gain a greater understanding of the numerous challenges facing the country.

The meeting signals Pakistan's need for more help from the international community as it struggles with insurgency, the threat of bankruptcy and a difficult transition to democracy since the election of President Asif Ali Zardari. Javed Malik, an ambassador at large, said Pakistan needed help for economic and social development. "This meeting in Abu Dhabi is expected to develop a clear road map through which the world community will support Pakistan," Mr Malik said.

"There is a need to evolve a well-co-ordinated strategy to support Pakistan in its economic challenges and support the country's social development goals with a particular focus on education, health and human development. "It is equally important that Pakistan is given trade access within the Friends of Pakistan markets and evolves mechanisms through which private sector involvement in Pakistan's development can be encouraged."

The Pakistani rupee has lost 25 per cent of its value since the beginning of the year while stock markets have fallen around 35 per cent. Mr Malik and Aizaz Chaudhry, additional foreign secretary with responsibility for South Asia, will represent Pakistan at the meeting. The initiative was set up in September at the UN General Assembly in New York and held its first meeting there. asafdar@thenational.ae