Islamabad/Doha: Cash-strapped Pakistan on Monday secured a bailout package of USD 3 billion from oil-rich Qatar, a day after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad concluded his visit to Islamabad and agreed to cooperate in the fields of trade, anti-money laundering and curbing terror financing. The Gulf state is the fourth nation that has come forward to rescue Pakistan from default during past 11 months as the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan tries to overcome a ballooning balance-of-payments crisis. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: LondonEarlier, China gave USD 4.6 billion in shape of deposits and commercial loans and Saudi Arabia provided USD 3 billion cash deposit and USD 3.2 billion oil facility on deferred payments. The United Arab Emirates also provided USD 2 billion cash deposit. Qatar’s financial assistance was announced by its foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. “Upon the directives of HH the Amir, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs announces of new investments in the form of deposits and direct investments worth a total of QR3 billion in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the official Qatar News Agency tweeted, quoted the minister as saying. Also Read – India, China should jointly uphold peace and stability, resolve disputes through dialogues: Chinese ambassador”The Qatari-Pakistani economic partnership will amount to 9 billion. Qatar affirms its aspiration for further development in the relations between the two countries at all political, economic, sports and cultural levels,” he said. Advisor to Pakistan Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh confirmed the Qatari financial help through his Twitter handle. “I want to thank the Emir of Qatar HRH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani for announcing 3 billion in deposits and direct investments for Pakistan and for Qatar’s affirmation to further develop relations between the two countries”, Shaikh tweeted. On Sunday, Pakistan conferred the visiting Qatari Emir with the ‘Nishan-e-Pakistan’, the country’s highest civil honour. Apart from stepping up cooperation in trade and economy, Pakistan and Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of exchange of financial intelligence related to money laundering and curbing terrorism financing. Pakistan’s finance ministry did not immediately provide the break-up of the USD 3 billion Qatar aid. It was not clear how much of the amount was in shape of deposit that will land in the State Bank of Pakistan to provide temporary cushion to the dwindling reserves, The Express Tribune reported. Pakistan last month reached a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a USD 6 billion bailout package aimed at shoring up its finances and strengthening a slowing economy. Despite these massive inflows, the official foreign currency reserves held by State Bank of Pakistan, the apex bank, stood at only USD 7.6 billion as of June 14, the report said. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is going to make a new record of foreign borrowings in one year, it said. Pakistan is also required to convert its short term loans into long term borrowings aimed at improving the debt profile. It currently pays 41 per cent of its budget in debt servicing. The successive governments’ inability to enhance exports has increased Pakistan’s reliance on bilateral and multilateral creditors. The exports further slipped over 1 per cent during first 11 months under prime minister Khan, the report said.
TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY today acknowledged campaigners from Our Children’s Health group.The group began demonstrating outside Government Buildings this week, with a 20 foot banner, pledging that they will be there every day until the situation where discretionary medical cards being removed from ill children is dealt with.This morning, Kenny met the group and told the campaigners that he planned to do something about it, telling them: “This isn’t the Ireland we all know.”Peter Fitzpatrick, co-founder of the group, told the Taoiseach about their petition.In just ten days nearly 60,000 people have signed the petition calling on legislation to be changed that will legally entitle any child diagnosed with a serious illness of congenital condition to a full medical card.Petition“We said to him that almost 60,000 people have now clearly said that every seriously ill child should be legally entitled to a medical card – that we are appealing to him directly and that this policy change must come from him.”Yesterday, Kenny said in the Dáil that he would “fix” the problem, saying that proposals were going to sub committee today.He said “the whole process, the way of dealing with these, is not the way I want it to be”.Fitzpatrick told TheJournal.ie that they “would wait to see what comes out today”.Read: Medical card protest to take place outside Government buildings today… and everyday>Read: Number of discretionary medical cards falls by over 16,000>