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US reluctant to help Pakistan in execution of mega projects

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By Mehtab Haider

ISLAMABAD: Although US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is going to unveil here today (Monday) those projects which will be funded under $7.5 billion Kerry-Lugar Law over the next five years but Washington is not ready to help Islamabad in execution of mega projects in the most prioritised areas and funding will be made available largely to minor and medium size projects, it is learnt.

A senior official of the government told The News on Sunday that the US seemed reluctant to provide financial assistance for much needed construction of Bhasha Dam in order to remove woes of the energy deficient country. “Why the US does not help us for establishing thermal power plant as one million dollar could translate into generating one megawatt electricity and by spending $1.5 billion per annum Washington can provide a gift of 1,500MW power,” the official questioned.

In case US raised the issue of transparency in procurement then they should purchase thermal power plant by themselves and install it anywhere feasible for adding electricity into the main grid of the country, the official said.

The official said that US should help Pakistan for building Bhasha Dam, but so far no interest was shown by it to finance this project.

The consultants were hired for conducting studies so the consultant mafia that provided cut paste solution will be the major beneficiaries of upcoming US funding. There is need to evolve such a mechanism through which money could be utilized for providing benefits to the poor masses rather than benefiting few hundreds. The provision of benefit to large segment of society will help curbing anti-America sentiments in Pakistan.

A senior official of Planning Commission told this scribe that several meetings were held between the both sides to finalise the projects that would be financed under Kerry-Lugar Law but every time differences of opinion existed over them in terms of priorities set by Pakistan.

If USA wants to award contracts to its own companies and individuals and then they would hire services of Pakistanis at second stage, in such scenario the administrative cost will be much higher for utilizing these funds, the official said.