ISLAMABAD – It is reported that the status of Pakistan Funded Projects in Afghanistan is quite miserable due to non availability of funds. These projects are funded by Government of Pakistan, under the Executive / Financial jurisdiction of Planning Commission of Pakistan.
Some of the infected projects include;
- Torkham to Jalalabad Road (after 60% progress the project left abandoned due to shortage of funds and now some India based construction companies are planning to indulge in the completion of the project leftover)
- Jinnah Hospital – Kabul (apart from all the previous financial hick-ups and severe funds blockage since August 2013, the responsible construction company is in the status of impossible to proceed)
- Rahman Baba Hostel Building – Kabul (apart from all the previous financial hick-ups and severe funds blockage since August 2013, even then the responsible construction company progressed up-to 97% which is now in stand still situation)
- Naukh Logar Hospital – Logar (apart from all the previous financial hick-ups and severe funds blockage since August 2013, even then the responsible construction company progressed up-to 83% which is now in stand still situation)
The spokespersons of the Construction Companies and acquiring departments of Afghanistan, who are working on these projects, have conveyed their serious concerns in this regard as most of the projects are in their completion phase.
They said that due to the indecisive delay in the provision of the promised funds, Pakistan is not only earning a bad repute but it is also escalating the hardships of the staff, stationed in Afghanistan.
This issue kindled so high that Pakistani Ambassador, officially informed Planning Commission Pakistan to expedite the completion of these projects due to the embarrassments facing in every forum of Afghanistan.
Governor of Logar Province has also send a letter to the Planning Commission requesting them to do some drastic measures for the completion of Logar Hospital which is the only hospital project in the whole province and due to this under construction hospital they have not planned any other hospital in the province.
After the Procession in front of the Pakistan High Commission by the unpaid vendors on 1st January 2014 which reflected in the Pakistani & Afghani print media as well, these vendors are constantly threatening the staff of the construction companies through local Police department and media news agencies. Moreover, after the announcement of the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2014, the political uncertainty has increased and the security conditions are deteriorating exponentially. The companies working their, have to deal with the release of their kidnapped staff against huge ransom amounts while most of the staff belongs to Pakistan.
Despite all the challenging circumstances, we find ourselves duty bound to complete these projects according to the time lines for the sake of our National integrity and to promote a respectable image of Pakistan, they added.
They further reported that there is immense delay in the availability of funds since the start of the projects which is now almost completely stuck from August 2013 which is due to the lethargic response of the bureaucratic channels involved and the non-availability of true technocrats and professionals in the current bureaucratic mechanism, even the Finance Minister of Pakistan Mr. Ishaq Daar during his recent visits of the particular projects in Afghanistan during the JEC conference, ensured prompt actions to his Afghan Counterparts.
Further the honorableMinister of Planning, Development & Reforms,Mr. Ahsan Iqbal in his recent CRRA meeting (Committee of Reconstruction and Rehabilitation in Afghanistan), instructed all the authorities that the promised funds should be made available to these companies with no further delay in order to keep the integrity of Pakistan and Pakistanis elevated around the globe.
After all these enormous efforts made by the Finance Minister (Mr. Ishaq Daar), the situation of the said projects reflects the same abundance due to the severe deficiency of the implementation mechanism in the relevant bureaucratic channel.
The completion of these Projects is in the supreme national interest because Pakistan has committed and expended $300 million of its precious resource to develop goodwill with the people of Afghanistan. With the non-release of payments the works at the Projects now stand suspended and any further delay in release of payments could sabotage the projects altogether which would result in wastage of public funds apart from earning a bad name for the country, which is diametrically opposite to what Pakistan set out to do in Afghanistan in the first place.