Pakistan so far spends $1 bln for war-hit Afghanistan’s reconstruction

ISLAMABAD, Aug 3 (APP): Pakistan has so far contributed $1 billion to support the reconstruction of war-ravaged Afghanistan by building hospitals, schools and roads to manifest its commitment for a prosperous Afghanistan and falsify the impression of using the country as its proxy state.

Since September 2021, over 14,945 tons of humanitarian assistance had been sent to Afghanistan via 694 trucks and four C130 planes under arrangements of Pak-Afghan Cooperation Forum.

In the wake of recent earthquake in Afghanistan, Pakistan has opened its border in South Waziristan and established a makeshift medical facility. Relief aids from Pakistan include food, clothing, blankets and medicines etc.

In 2019, Afghanistan’s second-largest Jinnah Hospital with 200-bed capacity was opened in Kabul costing more than $24 million as part of Pakistan’s contribution to reconstruction and development efforts.

Recently, Pakistan has offered to provide online education facilities for Afghan students as Allama Iqbal Open University and Virtual University will teach students through their TV networks.

In 2020, Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC) announced around 3,000 scholarships worth Rs. 1.5 billion for Afghan students to study in different institutes of Pakistan in various fields, including medicine, engineering, agriculture, management and computer science.

From its limited resources, Pakistan is providing US $500 million for capacity building in various sectors including education, health as well as building schools, hospitals, roads of Afghanistan.

A few completed projects under Pakistan’s Bilateral Assistance Program include 75 Km Torkham–Jalalabad Road, additional carriage Wayat Torkham–Jalalabad Road, three internal roads in Jalalabad, traffic signals in Jalalabad city, provision of road construction machinery,30 mobile hot mixers, generators and medicines for Wardak Province and 200 trucks and 100 public transport buses.

Pakistan’s welfare projects to uplift Afghanistan’s education sector include construction of Rehman Baba School and Hostel, Kabul costing (Rs120 million), Liaquat Ali Khan Engineering Faculty Block, Balkh University, Allama Iqbal faculty of arts, Kabul University (Rs672 million), Sir Syed Post-graduate faculty of sciences, Nangarhar University (Rs 389.65 million), six primary schools and two vocational training institutes in Kabul and Baghlan.

Moreover, 10 buses for Kabul and Nangarhar universities were also provided in addition to 300,000 school kits for 18 provinces, 2000 fully funded scholarships for higher education in Pakistan, enrolling 500,000 refugee students in Pakistan, and training 644 Afghan police and drug control officers, doctors and paramedical staff, diplomats, judicial officers, customs officers, agriculturists and bankers.

Pakistan’s contribution to Afghanistan’s health sector include establishment of Nishtar Kidney Centre, Jalalabad costing (USD 7 million), 400 Bed Jinnah Hospital, Kabul (USD118.854 m), Naeb Aminullah Khan Hospital, Logar (USD 20 m), 45 ambulances for 12 provinces, 14 fully equipped mobile medical units, medicines for Kabul, Jalalabad and Kandahar and ongoing free eye camps.

A single philanthropic Pakistani organization performed over 30,000 free eye surgeries on Afghan patients in 2008 alone.

The general assistance for the war-torn country included provision of TV transmitters for Kandahar, Digital Radio Link between Kabul and Peshawar, security equipment and computers, installation of 15 deep well hand pumps in villages of Kabul and rehabilitated Kabul Zoo and Deh Mazang Park.

Reiterating Pakistan’s position, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said, “Our relief efforts are a humble testament to the fraternal bonds that exist between the two countries.”

On sidelines of SCO CFM, Bilawal Bhutto reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan, advancing people to people exchanges & providing humanitarian support.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are likely to agree on development of a multimodal air-to-road corridor, which will contribute significantly to economic development of both the countries.

Besides, Pakistan and China plan to extend CPEC to Afghanistan which manifests Pakistan’s firm commitment to a peaceful, stable, prosperous and connected Afghanistan.

In a bid to reconstruct and rebuild Afghanistan, Pakistan has never acted as a traditional donor country which is evident from its four decades of hosting of three million Afghan refugees and facilitation of Afghan peace process prior to Taliban takeover in August 2021.