SFD team heads for Pakistan to ink reconstruction pact

Ambassador Muhammad Naeem Khan in RiyadhRIYADH: Saudi Arabia will extend financial support to build infrastructure projects worth about SR262 million in areas of Pakistan largely affected by devastating floods recently.

A delegation of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) left for Pakistan on Monday to hold talks and endorse an accord, which will eventually spell out a comprehensive plan to finance the projects to be executed in a staggered schedule.”The visit of the SFD delegation is aimed to support road, school and healthcare projects in Pakistan,” said Pakistani Ambassador Muhammad Naeem Khan in Riyadh.

He welcomed the Saudi move and said: “The government and the people of Pakistan are happy to work in unison with the Kingdom, a partner that takes care of the people of Pakistan.”He said the Saudi support came well in time, as aid so far has been inadequate to cover the cost of rehabilitation and reconstruction.The situation has been pathetic on the grounds, especially in the flood-affected regions of Pakistan, despite the fact that many countries announced assistance for the country.

Ambassador Khan, who will tour major regions of the Kingdom including Dammam, Tabuk and Madinah to hold talks with respective governors and meet his compatriots, said the SFD delegation would discuss the draft agreement for the construction of some projects in the Malakand district of Pakistan.Saudi Arabia is making “all possible efforts” to revive and reconstruct damaged infrastructure in Pakistan, he added. Malakand is a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which was ravaged by the monsoon floods.

According to a statement issued by the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad, the SFD delegation will hand over a number of schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa constructed in coordination with UNICEF.The delegation will also hand over movable grain silos for grain storage, which will be distributed under the supervision of World Food Program. The statement said that the water supply schemes, water tanks, and installation of water pumps in different flood-hit areas of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan of Pakistan are the priority areas for the Saudi funding organizations.

The statement further noted that a Saudi relief organization called King Abdullah Relief Campaign for Pakistani People (KARCPP) has been launched to carry out relief and rehabilitation work in Sindh and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan. Pakistan is still in need of funds to complete the projects.The international community has, so far, committed over $121 million. However, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan said that it needs an estimated $356 million to effectively aid flood-affected people. – Arabnews