Islamabad: King Abdullah’s Relief Campaign for Pakistani People of Saudi Arabia announced $60 million for the people affected by natural disasters and rehabilitation projects in Pakistan here in Islamabad on Tuesday. This announcement was made by Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Abdullah M Ali-Zahrani during a press conference. Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch, and Regional Director of Custodian of the two Holy Mosques Relief Campaign for Pakistan Dr Khalid M Al-Othmani were also present on the occasion.
Addressing the press conference Abdullah M Ali-Zahrani said it was a happy juncture that the first phase of $20 million rehabilitation projects in Pakistan, initiated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the wave of earthquake and floods, had been completed.
He reaffirmed the kingdom’s support to Pakistan. Under the leadership of Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and the people of Saudi Arabia, we will always stand by Pakistani brothers and take this friendship to new heights, he said.
Dr Khalid M Al-Othmani Regional Director of King Abdullah’s Relief Campaign for Pakistani People birdied the media and distinguished guests about the relief operations of (KARCFP) operations in earthquake and floods affected areas of Pakistan. Dr Khalid M Al-Othmani said keeping in view the destruction caused by these natural disasters, the leadership of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on every single occasion, had ordered rescue, emergency relief, and rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the affected areas of Pakistan.
Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch, on the occasion said almost 2.5 million people were displaced in FATA alone, adding that more than half of them returned to their respective areas. With Saudi assistance, the government is building schools, providing water, dates and other facilities for the affected in FATA. In his remarks, Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch appreciated and thanked the efforts of the Saudi government in providing assistance and support to Pakistan after the natural calamities.
Saudi Arabia was a leading donor to Pakistan. It instantly responds to humanitarian disasters and natural calamities worldwide without any religious or ethnic discrimination, Saudi Envoy added. In addition to providing economic and financial aid to the developing countries, it is the largest donor in the world in terms of ratio to its GDP and scope of its donations. The ratio of Saudi global donations constitutes 1.9 per cent of its GDP against the United Nations’ target of 0.7 per cent of the GDP.
“Our relations with Pakistan are distinct and it is an honor for us to be in a position to extend our hand of friendship and support to our Muslim brothers in Pakistan in their hard times,” the Saudi ambassador said. “Time bears testimony that Saudi has proved itself an all-weather friend to Pakistan. I assure you that this time tested friendship is destined to strengthen further in the years ahead.” He thanked SAFRON, NDMA, ERRA, provincial governments and the UN for cooperation received from them in completion of projects. “We stood by you in the past, we stand by you today and tomorrow,” he said.
The Writer is Editor Daily Online News Paper “The Fortress”