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FEATURE STORY

World Bank MD, Indrawati starts her 3-day visit to Pakistan in Lahore

August 3, 2015

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Photo Credit: World Bank

 A popular local adage goes “If you have not seen Lahore, you are not born”, hence the World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati started her visit on Sunday from the country’s second-largest city and capital of its most populous province, Punjab. With a living history of over 1000 years, Lahore’s Androon Shehr (Inner or Walled City) serves as the city’s historic core and forms a part of Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage. As a link to the shared history of the countries of South Asia, Lahore has served as the capital of the Mughal and Sikh Empires, and then a major administrative center of colonial India. The Walled City also serves as a site of a World Bank-assisted project that helped the provincial government restore neighborhoods along a heritage trail, the Shahi Guzargah (Royal Trail), while uplifting livelihoods of the community living there.

Among the many historical gems to which the old part of Lahore is home, the most impressive are the Mughal-era monuments of Badshahi Mosque and the Lahore Fort. Indrawati was impressed with the traditional design and workmanship at both the heritage sites.


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Photo Credit: World Bank

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Photo Credit: World Bank

From one of the largest mosques in the world, Indrawati arrived at Pakistan’s largest Social Safety Net platform, Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) Tehsil Center. She observed biometric enrolment of female heads of beneficiary families for technology-based direct cash transfers.

She also learnt from female beneficiaries how the World Bank supported program had impacted their lives, how they found out about it, and what were their hopes from the program. One of the beneficiaries, Parveen proudly said, “I pay my kids’ school fee through this cash support”. Another beneficiary Donia said, “I along with my husband work in a brick kiln and during this season of rains these kilns are closed and we really get hard up. The BISP cash transfers help us make ends meet along with some other work that my husband does for daily wages”.

Indrawati also met with members of the private sector, think tanks and academia during her daylong stay in Lahore. She emphasized the importance of the private sector’s contributions to the growth and development of Pakistan and the contributions the research organizations and academia make around the world in linking centers of knowledge with the public and private enterprises.

She also met with the Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and other members of the provincial cabinet. It was only befitting that a day that started at the Walled city should also conclude there. Indrawati had a dinner hosted by the Chief Minister and his team at the Hazoori Bagh, another historical site. She was accompanied by Annette Dixon, Vice President of World Bank South Asia Region and Rachid Benmessaoud, the World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.

From Monday, Indrawati will attend meetings with Pakistan’s leadership in Islamabad.

Story contributed by Mariam Sara Altaf, Communication Officer, World Bank, Islamabad.


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