Pakistan under the spotlight: Is the money getting to where it needs to go?
Pakistan is still reeling from the devastating floods that have seen one fifth of the country become submerged. More than $800 million has been pledged through international donations.
But allegations abound that some of the money pledged is not reaching the problem areas, through corruption and mismanagement – a thorny subject tackled at Frontline Club event last night.
If you couldn’t join us for this event, you can watch the lively Q&A session here:
Asif Durrani, Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner in the UK, admitted that corruption was a problem but argued that funds – including a $10 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund in 2008 – had been spent on legitimate projects. "I’m not denying that there won’t be corruption… but It’s not that bad – though perceptions are bad and that needs to be corrected," he said.
Asked whether there is a risk that money donated or loaned to the country to help its dire situation, Brice de le Vingne, Médecins Sans Frontières operation manager for Pakistan, said: "There is a risk because already Pakistan was not that stable. And this will just increase the instability."
Karen Pierce, Foreign Office director for Afghanistan and South Asia, said that "In any event of this type there is a risk of diversion [of money] – I don’t think the risk in Pakistan is any greater in this crisis than in any other."
But Pierce outlined the "circular" problem of Pakistan’s lack of infrastructure investment due to its longstanding battle against terrorism:
There wasn’t a lot of infrastructure development going into the border areas to start with, partly because of the security problem… which is one reason the economy in Pakistan is distorted.