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GENEVA: The hope that the meeting in Washington of Aid Pakistan Consortium countries on July 19 would enable “the construction of Tarbela Dam to start in real earnest next January” was expressed by Mr M.M. Ahmad, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission in an executive interview with this correspondent.

Mr M.M. Ahmad is flying to Washington on July 18. The Finance Secretary, Mr Ghulam Ishaq, and Mr A.G.N. Kazi, WAPDA Chairman, will join Mr Ahmad in the negotiations with the representatives of the United States, Britain, Japan, Italy, France, Germany, Canada and the World Bank.

The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission told me today [July 15] that the Washington meeting is “a follow up to the discussions on Tarbela project at the Consortium meeting in London last month at which many countries showed positive interest in the project”. Of the foreign credits required for the 850 million dollar Tarbela project, 330 million dollars are already available from the Indus Basin funds. The remainder of 189 million dollars could be spread over eight years.

During his stay in Washington Mr M.M. Ahmad would also discuss the difficulties in the replenishment of IDA funds. This problem may delay the availability of soft loan credits promised by the World Bank for the current year of the Third Plan.

Mr M.M. Ahmad expressed satisfaction over his recent visits to Czechoslovakia and Poland. Agreement on two important points emerged in his talks in Prague and Warsaw. The first was the promise by the two countries of commodity aid and the second the provision of assistance for private industrial sector in Pakistan.

[Meanwhile, as reported by agencies Bombay,] violence broke out in Bhavnagar in Gujerat state, 450 miles north of here today, when a march by students and other demonstrators was dispersed by Police.

The march was in protest against yesterday’s firing by Police on a crowd at a nearby village where one person was killed and23 Policemen injured.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2017