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No homework: Pakistan loses full term IDB top post

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has lost the chance of holding the Islamic Development Bank’s top post of executive director for a full three-year term and will now share its tenure with three other countries.
HunzaNews, July 18th, 2014.

Pakistan, led by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, conceded its right to Afghanistan, the Maldives and Bangladesh, according to sources in the finance ministry.

On the basis of the IDB’s paid-up capital, Pakistan has the majority votes among the constituency members. It has 2.51% votes followed by Bangladesh’s 1.06%, Afghanistan’s 0.10% and the Maldives 0.09%.

Pakistan’s voting rights are recognisably higher than the combined votes of the three countries, underscoring the inability of its delegation to retain the berth for a full term at a forum that has representation of all Muslim countries.

The debacle was attributed to “ill-preparedness and shortsightedness” on the part of Pakistani delegation that went to Saudi Arabia last month without doing its homework, the sources added.

The high-powered board of executive directors of the IDB is responsible for the general operations and policies of the bank. The board comprises 18 members. Out of which nine are appointed by their countries, which are the main shareholders, while nine others are elected by the governors of other countries.

The governors elected nine rotational members on June 25 and it was the turn of Pakistan to become the executive director for three years after Bangladesh’s turn expires in September, said the sources.

Pakistan’s constituency comprises four countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Maldives. The ED post used to rotate between Pakistan and Bangladesh for a three-year term.

Under the new arrangement, Afghanistan and Maldives would each be elected for a six-month term and Bangladesh and Pakistan for one year each. The new term will begin from September and Pakistan will hold the fort only for one year period, confirmed an official of the Economic Affairs Division (EAD).

He said it was the best arrangement, as Bangladesh and Afghanistan have made a joint alliance against Pakistan. The official said the new arrangement was only for three-year period.

The sources said that during the last elections of board of executive directors that were held in 2011, Afghanistan had also sought to field its candidate.

But the then Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, who was also IDB’s governor at the time, asked Afghanistan to accept the existing arrangement or leave the constituency.

They added, at that time Pakistan and Bangladesh agreed that the position would rotate between both of them – an arrangement that the FM Dar chose to deviate from.  But the EAD official insisted that the 2011 arrangement was only for three years.

The sources said the Pakistani delegation was not fully prepared. The brief that the Economic Affairs Division prepared for Ishaq Dar did not mention the 2011 arrangement.

A member of the 2011 delegation confirmed to The Express Tribune that an arrangement between Pakistan and Afghanistan had been finalised.

From now on, the country will have little voice in IDB affairs. The sources said after the IDB debacle has set a precedent and Pakistan may also face similar problems in the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

But the EAD official said that the new arrangement was the only option to break the deadlock. He added Bangladesh had deviated from its understanding and wanted to be re-elected for another three-year term.

This left no choice for FM Dar but to agree on an arrangement that gave representation to all the four members, he added. The spokesman for finance ministry Rana Assad Amin was unavailable for comment.

Express Tribune

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