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Federal Minister for Finance Senator Ishaq Dar speaks during a press briefing on Pakistan Development Fund Project at PM Secretariat in Islamabad on Saturday. – Photo by APP
Federal Minister for Finance Senator Ishaq Dar speaks during a press briefing on Pakistan Development Fund Project at PM Secretariat in Islamabad on Saturday. – Photo by APP

ISLAMABAD: Without taking any names, Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar on Saturday said the donation of 1.5 billion dollars by ‘friendly countries’ was a “gift for the people of Pakistan.”

Chairing a meeting of Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) here, he said these friendly countries had full confidence in Pakistan and the government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and donated $1.5 billion unconditionally in Pakistan Development Fund (PDF).

Clarifying the ‘rumours’ regarding the status of the donation, the minister said it was neither loan nor given in return for any services.

The amount should be accepted with thanks and not be made controversial, he added.

Foreign news agency Reuters had reported earlier this week that Saudi Arabia “loaned” $1.5 billion to Pakistan last month to help Islamabad shore up its foreign exchange reserves, meet debt-service obligations and undertake large energy and infrastructure projects.

The ‘friendly assistance’ has contributed to a sharp recovery of the Pakistani rupee, which rose to a nine-month high of 97.40 from 105.40 against the dollar between March 4 and 12, its strongest rally in 30 years.

Ishaq Dar said the amount would be spent on different development projects in various sectors, including energy, infrastructure, railways, communication and transportation.

“The most important project is linking Sindh with other areas of the country through Motorway. It is the initiative of PML-N government and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gives priority to its completion,” he added.

The minister said work on the Motorway project in the country was continuing at full pace, which would cost about Rs800 billion.

He said the economy had performed well during the first eight months of current fiscal year as was evident from major economic indicators, such as growth rate, inflation, foreign remittances, foreign exchange reserves, external trade and industrial growth.

The minister said tax collection during the period increased by 17.7 per cent as compared to the last year.

The provinces would receive more than Rs200 billion this year due to increased tax collection, he added.

He said Pakistan had been ranked second in the world in terms of business growth in a survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) while it had potential to become the 18th largest economy of world by 2050, according to another report.

However, the government would try its best to realise the dream of 18th largest economy by 2025, he added.

Comments (70) Closed

Rahmat Mar 15, 2014 10:13pm

The dream of becoming 18th economy in the world is not far off as long as the first 17 annually make 'friendly' donations/alms of several billion dollars a year.

Ali Mar 15, 2014 10:15pm

yes friends! same friends who have turned Pakistan into Napakistan....friends that have also gifted us Taliban, blessed us with lashkare jhangvi, and selflessly donated us sepahe sahaba....friends that has taught us the true spirit of islam, and made us pakistanis the most lovable beings on planet...a friend indeed ...

Safraz Khan Mar 15, 2014 10:28pm

Look at these corrupt ventrure capatalist, vultures...Lies ! Lies ! and Lies ! The money given from the Corrupt Royal Saudi family goes to another Corrupt family (ruling) in Pakistan...In the end normal person will get Zero benefit. All this money will go in their persnal accounts and cayman Islands or Swiss Bankers will hostage them and their future generations... They must remember one thing though! there are no pockets in Coffin and u need 2 yards to be burried for your next flight.... Shame and disaster for this Ummah..the ruler like them and the people who supported them...

Raza Naqvi Mar 15, 2014 10:31pm

Dear Mr Dar You think this nation is full of Fools like you and your bunch of Siri Paye eating buffoons that you would tell us that the Saudi gave you 1.5 Billion Dollars just like that.We are sure there must be a long wish list attached to these BHEEK that you have gotten from your Masters,including supplying arms to the terrorist of Al Qaida in Syria (which in a few months would be used against Pak Army tanks)refusing of Iran pakistan Gas pipe line and beating to death innocent civilians in Bahrain,and so on.

Guest64 Mar 15, 2014 10:37pm

If this so called GIFT is not to talked about than WHY on earth , the very first day , you barked out that You have fulfilled Your Promise to bring the Dollar down vis Pakistani Ruppee ? This 1.5 billions dollars gift was primarily the reason to get the Ruppee/$ lowered , So What is your sort of Financial wizardry or your financial ingenious act that You are taking the credit for the $/Ruppee balance ???? , Whom you are kidding sir ???? There are No steadfast friends or bitter enemies in International relations , Its the Country's interests which matters and no country on earth will dole out such a sum to you sir .....

malick Mar 15, 2014 10:41pm

Gift was not announced by those who donated. This is lie

Shahpur Mar 15, 2014 10:50pm

Is this a Loan, with personal guarantees from Nawaz Shariff, or gift from Saudis to people of Pakistan, or a payment for the arms to the Syrian rebels, and Talibans. Minister should provide documentation to Dawn, so a correction can be made.

Adil Farooq Mar 15, 2014 11:01pm

I wonder if Mr.Dar feels embarrassed at his own lack of competency regarding the appreciation of the Pakistani rupee. How does he feel about it considering it happened due to a 'gift' from friends rather than his own expertise (if he has any - other than money laundering). Once characterless, always characterless!

Khalid Mar 15, 2014 11:29pm

What?. A gift from a friend? When is the last time you gave money to one of your poor friends?. By the way, do you have any poor friends?. So, we are not beggars anymore. Just receiving money from friends?. You must really think Pakistanis are all without brains.

pathanoo Mar 15, 2014 11:34pm

Question? How stupid is this man Ishaq Dar ? Or, how stupid he thinks we the people are? Those friends he claims gave $1.5 Billion as a gift to Pakistan; just bought Pakistan - CHEAP. This guy is senile. He claimed, "Pakistan is the 2nd in the world in the terms of business growth." Even the Mullahs will laugh at that. What is this man smoking? He went on to further give us divine wisdom and prediction that,Pakistan would be the 18th largest economy of the world by 2050." Now that takes the cake. Pakistan may not even exist by 2050 the way things are going now. How come this man is not in a rubber suit? For any one with little brain, it is clear why Pakistan is in such a mess. With cave dwelling Mullahs and senile politicians like Ishaq Dar what else could Pakiatan be but a world pariah and a basket case.

Syed Imam Mar 15, 2014 11:38pm

First it was said that $1.5 Billion was a loan and now he is saying that it is a gift/donation. For once why the government of Pakistan comes clean with its people and tell the truth. It is a payment for Pakistan's support (wepons and training Jahadists) for Syrian conflict?

pathanoo Mar 15, 2014 11:40pm

Give this man, Ishaq Dar, a marijuana joint to smoke. May be he will stop hallucinating. WOW!!! How stupid is this man? He is more stupid than the Mullahs who at least have Islam and Koran to use as a crutch. What's his excuse......SENILITY?

L Ahmad Mar 15, 2014 11:44pm

Keep collecting khairat as gift from your friends and one day you and your country will be prosperous.

Hatim Shah Mar 15, 2014 11:53pm

Saudia is an undemocratic 18th century monarchy who have shamelessly sold their own peoples interest in order to save the kingship to foreign powers. Their so called donation is payback and resulting covert agreement to sell arms, distance w Iran , and promoting and protecting wabi madrasah culture in Pakistan is agreed by Nawaz sharif as payback for protection from Musharraf

No one honestly discusses national interest or worries about people of Pakistan. Statements from mr dar are shamelessly simplistic and we will more in quagmire from this blood money

Khanm Mar 15, 2014 11:55pm

Clarification please. Is it a loan or a gift. Gift / loan have different obligation to re pay. Please don't confuse this nation

Nizar Mar 16, 2014 12:08am

Nothing is free especially $1.5B. Trying to convince Pakistanis that the Saudis or any other country would fork over that amount without strings is to think Pakistanis are guillible and believe anything these corrupt politicians say. They have sold our beloved country to the highest bidder.

Afzal Khan Mar 16, 2014 12:11am

Dear Mr; Dar nothing is for free in this world.???????

Kesar Mar 16, 2014 12:19am

There is no free lunch in this world, Mr. Dar. You are a stupid person if you believe in this or you are deceiving the nation. One way or another you 'll pay for this 'friendly donation'.

Indian Mar 16, 2014 12:31am

Proud to be Indian

Danish Mar 16, 2014 12:32am

Historical fact, Saudia invested $ 30.9 billion during Iraq/Iran war. And, we are worried about just $ 1.5 billion. Aagay Aagay Dekhye Hota Hey Kia (Just wait and see).

Raza Mar 16, 2014 12:36am

I am very concerned that this money might be the earnest money to send arms and support to Syrian rebels. This would be a very bad deal for Pakistan if not an outright grave human right crime. Remember, these very "friends" wanted to send us more "ulemas" to service Pakistani community as if we have a shortage of such "service industry" as it is now.

Addy Mar 16, 2014 12:37am

So my dear Mr. Dar, how exactly are you going to refuse any favors they do ask you for in the future? I didn't think so. After all, what's a couple of Nukes between friends.

Risalpur Mar 16, 2014 12:38am

With all due respect,..with the exception of the $1.5 billion dropped in the begging bowl,..the rest is malarkey, as they say. Pure and unadulterated Dar.

Abdul Malik Mar 16, 2014 12:46am

Mr. Dar you really think that the Pakistani public is stupid and a nation of fools? You call this a gift? You expect the nation to believe that this money is a gift from the corrupt Saudi Kingdom? From one corrupt pocket this so called gift will go into another myriad pockets full of corrupt politicians.

Zaku Mar 16, 2014 12:59am

Agree with Ali, We are doing their dirty work for them. this is a down payment for sending terresit to Syria to fight for SA.

Taimur Mar 16, 2014 01:01am

So we are now GRAND Beggars ( neither loan nor in return for any exports ). Congratulations! We are proud of you NS.

asad Mar 16, 2014 01:09am

"Ishaq Dar said the amount would be spent on different development projects in various sectors, including energy, infrastructure, railways, communication and transportation." They never mention education; how naive. Pakistan's problems will never be solved unless education is available to the sad!

Aziz Mar 16, 2014 01:29am

In relationships between states there are "no friends" and " no enemies", "only the interest of the state". The honourable minister must disclose the terms and conditions of these payments accepted on behalf of the Pakistani nation. Reuters, news agency, reported it as a "loan". So what is it? and more importantly WHY?

Sultan Alvi Mar 16, 2014 01:53am

Of all the 26 comments I have reviewed so far, not even one has commented in favour of Mr. Dar. That means NO Pakistani is truly thankful for this $1.5 billion gift, donation, or loan.

As far as the real truth behind this dollar deal is concerned, only three people in Pakistan will tell you the truth. Hassan Nisar, Imran Khan and Sheikh Rasheed. May God Bless Pakistan and Pakistanis... Ameen.

ahmedj Mar 16, 2014 02:39am

Is this "Gift" in form of Loan, Aid or Grant? For the first two nation has to pay back and I doubt it is a grant.

syed Mar 16, 2014 02:54am

this is what Saudis are good at, they push their agenda thru power of money..

and its a gift to the politicians, we will call it a gift for Pakistanis when Pakistanis reap benefit from this 'gift'

Caz Mar 16, 2014 03:33am

Pakistan is politically, economically and morally bankrupt. It has no basis to exist.

Amir Mar 16, 2014 03:47am

@Asad, Why would our "friends" and especially our "Saudi friends" loan us money to educate our people? You know that When people get educated, they start to think and when they start to think, they start to ask questions and the Saudis definitely do not want our people to ask questions about their influence on our ruling elite.

pakistani Mar 16, 2014 03:50am

Its a shame for all of us that who (Musharraf) was sincere with Pakistan has to fight in court for protecting Pakistan

Amir Mar 16, 2014 04:29am

I hope this money will be utilized for the betterment of the people of Pakistan. Poor people who have been targeted by Govt, Opposition, Taliban, bureaucrats etc will see some benefit of this money. May Allah bless us all with the wisdom to do the right thing for each other.

A Shah Mar 16, 2014 05:41am

A Gift lol

Umair Mar 16, 2014 06:52am

I hope that this money is not the payment from Saudis to buy weapons from Pakistan and send it to rebellions in Syria. If this happens, it will upset Iran.

Kaka Khan Mar 16, 2014 07:18am

Which school did you go to Mr. Dar? I am convinced it was a school fairies & fantasies. Man you need to wake up & stop dreaming. Nobody believes your ludicrous, vague & moronic predictions.

Irfan Mar 16, 2014 07:30am

I'm making an attempt to connect dots, make an assumption and predict a future. What are dots now? 1. The government bent upon negotiations with taliban with an apparent intention of bringing peace and stability in country. This is taking place amid opposition from different corners and against the very basics of common sense. 2. In comes Saudi prince who meets with top brass leadership of Country (army and government), manages to break our neutrality in syrian conflict and wins our support in its stance against Syria. 3. this is followed by the news that Saudi government is seeking weapons from Pakistan to equip syrian rebels. 4. Not long before, finance minister of country makes a surprising and an improbable claim that the dollar will come below 100, leaving everyone including experts in economics baffled. Couple of days back the promise does realise and dollar follows the prediction of our minister. 5. Today we read, Saudi's are pumping billions of dollars in our kitty against nothing but personal assurances and credibility of our prime minister . 6. All these events taking place after diplomatic efforts by US and it's allies for support in an invasion on Syria, meet failure at international forums.

This brings me to my hypothesis. In return for the money from Saudi's,

GA Mar 16, 2014 08:15am

Gift?? There's no such thing as a free lunch. What part of Pakistan have they sold now?

observer Mar 16, 2014 08:46am

What Saudi Arabia insists on is that Pakistan provides ground-to-air shoulder-held missiles to fighters in Syria. Fairly soon, these weapons will be in the hands of local terrorists and the only air superiority our armed forces have over terrorists will go down the drain. Then terrorists will be free to call shots about commercial aviation and down flights that they don't like. Things that the present government is incapable of thinking about.

s khan Mar 16, 2014 09:10am

kSA has been donating or so called gifting money to buy loyalties and in return we have the mess which we r dealing with.

Bob Mar 16, 2014 10:10am


Waqar Mar 16, 2014 10:26am

Really very sad, why they want to fool people, every investor was aware, they sold their dollars at 105+ and purchased back the dollar at 98, just to beat sheikh rasheed, they poured the loaned dollar in market. Just imagine who is the ultimate bearing the cost of all this, What are we doing and what they want, how come you can make one as a finance Minister, with such a narrow sight,

Ahmer Mar 16, 2014 10:51am

This is a gift that will cost us more than a loan ever could.

Imran Mar 16, 2014 10:58am

What a joke! Are we living in a circus? These jokers are making funny stories and we are just sharing their stories on social media for time pass!!

Masoud Mar 16, 2014 11:13am

We should appreciate the gesture of the Saudi government for helping Pakistan whenever needed. Saudi Arabia, China, UAE are amongst the dependable all weather friends of Pakistan, instead of making controversies we should appreciate their gesture. Here we must also appreciate the US for being friendly as well. Although they add ifs & buts in their gesture together with some arrogant attitude nevertheless they have also helped Pakistan.

Irfan Mar 16, 2014 12:11pm

Dear finance minister, we all know that "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch",

Sadruddin Mar 16, 2014 12:11pm

Mr. Ishaq Dar there is nothing like free lunch

Ali Mar 16, 2014 01:20pm

Most incompetent finance minister in the history of mankind. His only quality is that his kids are married to Nawaz sharifs kids. How unfortunate thus nation is. This nation is blind and deaf so let's corrupt politicians loot and destroy even more

fida sayani Mar 16, 2014 05:20pm

@Waqar: This same government was responsible for freezing the dollar accounts a decade ago in which some lost 20% and some gained 20%.

mujahid Mar 16, 2014 06:06pm

How very strange that some fiends as per Munshi Ishaq dar claims that it was a donation by some brotherly countries however, he did not disclose the names for some reasons best known to him & MNS.How long will they keep $ under 100 is the real scene to be seen & if this was a donation then where is this amount going to be spend??

Salim A Mar 16, 2014 07:39pm

After more than 65-years, this country is still a nation of beggars. The poor will never see a hint of this donation.

Salim A Mar 16, 2014 07:51pm

To Saudi Royalty - Take your blood money and get lost. Your family has been responsible for the death and destruction of most of the Muslim countries. Over 2-million Muslim innocents have died since 1979 from your being the puppets of Western powers, benefitting Israel. Every where there is mass murder and turmoil in Muslim countries, including Pakistan, your fingerprints are on the money. You dole out these Shekels to keep poor countries like Pakistan ignorant and terrorized. Shame on Sharif and his cronies for accepting blood money.

akhan Mar 16, 2014 08:04pm

"a gift for people of pakistan" or a gift for politicians and their families. Mar 17, 2014 03:32am

@Indian: what makes you proud, living in west and making good money

Haroon Rooha Mar 17, 2014 05:08am

There is no free lunch,even in the house of a co-religionist co -tribal co -nationality friend.There is price to pay sooner or later. with intrestPayements can be paid in different assets./actions or must be extracted....This is the law of Economics.

Alan Mar 17, 2014 09:20am

Come On Dar! Tell them we are a nation of 180 million therefore 1.5 bn is no good for us. Send this back and say we need at least at least 15 billion to serve the population well.

M. Ahmed Mar 17, 2014 09:43am

@Ali : Well said, shame on our government

Raza Shah Mar 17, 2014 10:06am

It worries if this gift from friends is in return of arm supply for Syrian rebels.

Faisal Rana Mar 17, 2014 12:25pm

Since it is a gift, the 179.2 million people should get about $8.3 each. I hope the cheque is in the mail.

Taimur Mar 17, 2014 05:23pm

Some time back, Saudi crown prince visited India, i used to read indian news papers and reader comments. Normally comments are full of hatred toward Muslims. However, during the visit of saudi royal, most of indian columnists and readers comments stress the need to improve relationship with saudia as it is economically beneficial for India. I wonder what is problem with some sections especially which are sympathetic to Iran with the policies necessary to strengthen Pakistan economy. As for as Iran gas is concerned, it will cost around $14 per MMBtu, currently domestic consumers are paying around $3 per MMBtu so its not a free lunch from Iran. But if Saudi Arab want to help Pakistan, what is wrong with it. Historically, whether at the time of Nuclear detonation in response to india or any other crisis, Saudi Arabia always helped Pakistan. As for as Syria is concerned, Alawites are 8% of population and google alawite to see what they are realy,

Fareed Mar 17, 2014 05:47pm

First it was loan, now a donation, gift from friends ? Always ambiguous statements, can anyone question Dar ?

siddharth Mar 17, 2014 07:14pm

Let me try a conspiracy theory. Since US didnt want to annoy india for another 1.5 bil. They took saudi route. Since this money would not have any obligation to be spend on development work..this can be used to fight pakistans biggest enemy ...india. Cm on guys...lets build on this theory....comments awaited.

Nasir Iftikhar Mar 17, 2014 07:20pm

I hope we don't become just another Afghanistan. USA with Israel has devastated so many muslim states, that I think that US-allies can control PAK within 2 ys. Thank Allah for these 138 bn rs. IF this is spent on looting/money laundring as GOV has been doing, it doesn't matter. Just see; 38 bn rs will be vanished..50 bn will be withdrawn. 50bn rs be spent!

fowez Mar 17, 2014 07:44pm

Another gift from these friends can be found in the border regions to the west, the foreign terrorists.

Why is a Motorway with Sindh the most important project? What about the power grid? The average Pakistani could care less about a motorway.

Shahid Mar 17, 2014 08:26pm

Now wait for five years and don't vote PML(N) again

shah Mar 17, 2014 10:50pm

When would these people realsie its not aid that pakistan needs its TRADE.

shafi Mar 18, 2014 06:50am

This is fairly true.

Ghani K Mar 18, 2014 06:18pm

Countries donate money to fight natural calamities like floods, earthquakes, fires etc. Donation or gift of $1.5 billion from Saudi Arabia is down payment for our support to realign our foreign policy subject to Saudi's interests in the Middle East.