Pak may get $6 billion in donor pledges: WB | world | Hindustan Times
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Pak may get $6 billion in donor pledges: WB

The World Bank said on Monday that Pakistan was expected to get pledges of aid of between four and $ six billion at a donors conference in Tokyo this week.

world Updated: Apr 14, 2009 09:15 IST

The World Bank said on Monday that Pakistan was expected to get pledges of aid of between four and $ six billion at a donors conference in Tokyo this week.

"We are still making efforts, we think this is possible," Isabel Guerrero, the bank's vice president for South Asia, told reporters when asked whether such an aid projection could be met at the talks Friday to be co-hosted by the development lender and Japan.

The meeting comes after US President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping new strategy to turn around the Afghan war and defeat Islamist militants in Pakistan, which Washington has put at the heart of the fight against Al-Qaeda.

Guerrero said 27 countries and 16 organisations would attend the conference, with most delegations to be led at minister-level. President Asif Ali Zardari is scheduled to head Pakistan's delegation.

Pakistan voiced hope on Monday that the donors conference would endorse a four-billion-dollar aid package to stabilize the battered economy and fight against Islamist militancy.

Guerrero said a "Friends of Pakistan" meeting on political and security issues would be held before the donors conference on development assistance on the same day.

"There could be pledges there as well," she said.

Hajime Hayashi, a senior Japanese embassy official, said the Pakistan government was under "heavy pressure" and "it is naturally very important for the international community to provide fresh pledges to provide financial assistance."

"There are some strong positive signs of their fresh pledges from these countries and participants," he said. "We very much hope a good result" will emerge from the talks, he said.

Pakistan's finance ministry chief Shaukat Tarin said this week in Islamabad that his country, a frontline state and a key ally in the US-led "war on terror," has paid a heavy price in dealing with extremist violence in the country's troubled northwest, where it borders Afghanistan.

Military operations against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants have displaced around 300,000 people and the government wants to help them in their rehabilitation, he said.

Tarin said Pakistan had drafted a nine-point agenda that will be shared with the donor countries, which includes support for the needy, alongside training and employment opportunities to help people escape poverty.

Pakistan would like donors to finance energy projects to overcome a crippling power shortage and the government wants to increase spending on health, education and infrastructure through public-private partnership.