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World Bank links Pak's Diamer-Bhasha dam funding to Indian concurrence

June 26, 2012 - Islamabad

Pakistan has been unable to obtain a positive response from Washington-based World Bank to help finance the 11.7 billion dollars Diamer-Bhasha dam project.

According to Finance Ministry sources, the World Bank has again linked the financing of the multi-billion dollar project with Indian concurrence- given India's opposition to the dam on claims that it is located in the disputed territory of Gilgit-Baltistan, reports The Express Tribune.

Pakistan was unable to receive a firm commitment from World Bank's Vice President for South Asia Isabel Guerrero, to co-finance the mega project when Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh met with the former earlier this week.

Earlier, the government had claimed that the World Bank has agreed in principle to finance the project. Officials are now attributing the bank's retraction and change of heart to the strained relationship that Islamabad and Washington have witnessed of late.

"We have come to the conclusion that the issue of the financing of the dam by the World Bank can only be resolved during strategic discussions with the U.S.," an official said.

The US enjoys immense clout over the working of the international bank given that it is the largest fund provider and also holds the presidency of the multilateral lending agency.

The finance minister also asked the World Bank to restore its budgetary support that remained suspended due to deterioration in key macroeconomic indicators of the country. However, the government could not get encouraging response on that front either.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is expected to be the lead financer of the project that is expected to generate 4500 megawatts of electricity besides storing water for agriculture purposes once completed.


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