Senate told: War on terrorism’s price tag, $17.82b


The government on Thursday informed the Senate that the country’s economy suffered an estimated loss of .82 billion due to the war on terror during 2011-12.

The finance division provided details of the estimates to the upper house of the parliament on a query posed by Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan. The finance ministry further stated that these estimated losses, which occurred due to the war on terror during 2011-12, are being finalised by the authorities concerned.

The house was informed that approximately .4 billion in aid have been received by Pakistan from the US in connection with the war on terror during the last decade.

The finance ministry also informed the house that 7 million in foreign aid had been received from different countries for flood relief activities, and rehabilitation of flood affectees since 2010.

Minister of State for Privatisation Khurram Dastagir Khan said that the government also acquired 7 million in foreign loans for flood relief activities from 2010 to 2013.

He said the amount received under aid and loan heads was disbursed among provinces. The finance ministry also informed the house that the Pakistan government had obtained foreign loans during fiscal year 2008-09 to 2012-13 worth .55 billion and the amount paid back by the government during the period in question was .62 billion.

Opposition walkout

Earlier, the opposition in the Senate walked out of the house in protest over the government’s failure to brief the Senate about key components of the foreign policy, particularly its stance on the imminent US attack on Syria and Pakistan’s role in the Afghan-Taliban talks.

The upper house had earlier sought a detailed briefing from Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, on a number of issues. However, despite assurances from the leader of the house, Sartaj Aziz did not turn up.

On a point of order, Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Raza Rabbani raised the issue and lambasted the government for not taking the sensitive issues seriously.

“We want to know about Pakistan’s role in peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban,” Rabbani said, adding that they also wanted a detailed briefing on the function of the National Security Council.

Rabbani said the government did not give due importance to the opposition in the parliament and kept it in the dark about key strategic issues.

“We will not let the government run away by skipping key issues,” he remarked.

Responding on behalf of the government, leader of the house in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq said that Sartaj Aziz would give a detailed briefing on foreign affairs to a joint meeting of parliamentary committees scheduled for September 3, and those parliamentarians interested to know about these issues could attend the meeting.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2013.