Gilgit-Baltistan:US funding dams in Pakistan

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“We are considering doing more in the sector,” said the department’s spokesperson Victoria Nuland, as media reports suggested that the US would also support the giant $12 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam project. – File Photo by Reuters

WASHINGTON: The United States has provided support to complete the final phases of two hydroelectric dams in Pakistan: Satpara in Gilgit-Baltistan and Gomal Zam in South Waziristan, the State Department has said.

“We are considering doing more in the sector,” said the department’s spokesperson Victoria Nuland, as media reports suggested that the US would also support the giant $12 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam project.

Ms Nuland noted that Pakistan had requested international community’s support for development of the Diamer-Bhasha project.

“We recognise that such a hydroelectric project would help meet many of Pakistan’s long-term energy and water needs, as well as advance social and economic development,” she said.

“We are considering how we can best support Pakistan’s request, as are other bilateral donors and multilateral financial institutions.”

The US, she said, had not yet made a final decision on this giant project but noted that providing support to such projects was part of a broader signature energy programme in Pakistan that the US announced in 2009.

“We continue to work with the government of Pakistan to determine how best to use US civilian assistance,” Ms Nuland said.

If the US agreed to support the Diamer-Bhasha dam, it would be the largest civilian aid project the US has undertaken in Pakistan in decades.

Asked if the US was concerned how its support for these projects would affect its ties with India, Ms Nuland said the United States had long supported development projects that enhance the daily lives of people throughout the region. “In doing so, we always take into account a project’s potential regional impact,” she added.

Courtesy: Dawn

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