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February 11, 2015

Saudi aid is processed by foreign ministry: FO


February 11, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Tuesday tried its hand on damage control and avoid allegations of ‘terrorist funding’ which were leveled upon a friendly country, even by one of Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet minister.
These allegations already in the public domain started after the Centre had announced the National Action Plan to fight terrorism.On Monday an unusual and unexpected statement from the Saudi Arabia hit back at the local media and the government regarding allegations that the Kingdom was funding terrorist outfits inside Pakistan.
Instead, the statement pointed towards the Foreign Office and claimed that every penny that came from Saudi Arabia was given for “the interest of public welfare” after consultations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which cleared the applicants.
“In fact whenever any seminary, mosque or charity organisation requests the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for financial assistance, the embassy refers the matter to the Government of Pakistan through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for examining the suitability of the applicant for financial assistance,” the statement noted.
The Foreign Office had previously taken up the matter of Saudi funding at the diplomatic level after fresh efforts by the government had started to curb terrorism and militancy by choking off financial assistance from abroad.
This is the first time that Saudi Arabia has issued a statement which has led the Sharif government red in the face.Spokesperson at the Foreign Office who was flooded with requests to comment on the Saudi statement replied, “Regarding the statement issued by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on financial assistance, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been making important contribution to Pakistan’s economic development. Offers of economic assistance and project based assistance by Saudi Arabia are processed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in consultation with the relevant departments and agencies of the

Government of Pakistan”.
However she was silent on the relevant issue which the Saudi statement had pointed out regarding “assistance to a seminary, mosque or charity organisation”. The Saudis had made it clear that all such financial assistance was cleared by the Foreign Office.
Instead the spokesperson added, “However, funding by private individuals and organisations to private entities through informal channels, regardless of the source and country, are being brought under tight scrutiny in the National Action Plan against terrorism, to choke off any possibility of financing for terrorists and terrorist organisations.”

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