Anonymous donor who gave millions for Turkey earthquake relief is Pakistani businessman

Pakistan’s PM says he is ‘deepy moved’ by gesture even as his country battles inflation

Shweta Sharma
Wednesday 15 February 2023 08:37 GMT
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An anonymous donor who gave millions of dollars to Turkey for earthquake relief is a Pakistani businessman living in the US, Pakistan’s prime minister Shehbaz Sharif said.

Mr Sharif, whose government is struggling to evade a full-blown economic crisis amid soaring inflation and a plummeting currency, thanked the anonymous Pakistani national who approached the Turkish embassy in the US and donated the money.

“Deeply moved by the example of an anonymous Pakistani who walked into Turkish embassy in the US & donated $30 million for earthquake victims in Turkiye & Syria,” he said in a tweet.

“These are such glorious acts of philanthropy that enable humanity to triumph over the seemingly insurmountable odds.’’

The Turkish ambassador to the US, Murat Mercan, reportedly confirmed the anonymous contribution to an aid campaign launched by Washington.

The donation comes as aid agencies and governments across the world have stepped up efforts to send crucial help to earthquake-hit parts of Turkey and Syria on Tuesday.

Rescuers continued their attempts to pull survivors from the rubble in freezing weather conditions, more than 200 hours after the devastation.

The death toll from the earthquake in Turkey and Syria has reached 35,500.

Amid the ongoing domestic economic crisis, Pakistan sent nine aircrafts carrying tons of humanitarian assistance donated by its citizens and the government for the earthquake-hit regions.

The Independent is appealing for help in raising urgently needed funds following the deadliest earthquake to hit Turkey and Syria in almost a century.

For regular updates on the appeal sign up to our Morning Headlines newsletter by clicking here.

However, Mr Sharif was derided for comments lauding Pakistani citizens because inflation has soared in Pakistan. Prices for essential good and services, like milk, poultry, wheat and gas have gone through the roof amid a 48-year high inflation rate.

Ayesha Siddiqa, an author and expert on civil-military relations in South Asia, asked Mr Sharif why the philanthropist did not “quietly walk into a Pakistani embassy” and donate money to Pakistan.

Another user, identified as Nasreen, said: “This anonymous Pakistani could’ve donated more such amount for his own country. Where u r a PM! Pakistan which is in desperate need of money but why he did not do ? He knows thieves sitting in govt would not spend his money judiciously. Time to ponder and learn to Die in shame.”

Pakistan will impose new taxes of PKR170b (£‎3.7m) this month in a bid for massive bailout, said officials. Analysts, however, have warned that the move could accelerate the country’s spiralling inflation.

The desperate attempt to save Pakistan’s economy comes after Islamabad failed to strike a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a crucial $1.1bn loan.

“The imposition of more taxes means tough days are ahead for the majority of the people in Pakistan who are already facing higher food and energy costs, but there is no other way out if Pakistan needs the IMF loans, and Pakistan desperately needs it,” said Ehtisham-ul-Haq, a veteran economist.

The country’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen to slightly over $2bn, enough to pay for imports for just 10 days.

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