Tokyo, Japan: International donors have pledged more than $5 billion in aid for Pakistan in an attempt to shore up the country's finances so that it could fight Islamic extremism better. The meeting, taking place in Japan under the aegis of the 2009 Pakistan Donors Conference, was co-hosted by Japan and the World Bank.
Also in attendance are representatives of 31 countries and 18 international organizations and agencies.
"The international community is facing profound economic challenges," Hirofumi Nakasone, Japan's foreign affairs minister, said at the opening session of the donors conference.
"At the same time it must tackle the acute problem of terrorism, which is occurring all around the world and threatens people's peaceful lifestyles and their happiness.
According to Nakasone, Pakistan played a key role in international efforts to combat terrorism and its stability was crucial to the region.
Afghanistan, where an international military coalition has been struggling to contain a resurgent Taliban offensive, says most of the rebel fighters entering Afghan territory stream across the porous border from Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari, welcomed the pledges made by donors. "I assure that with the support of world, Pakistan will overcome its challenges and get rid of the menace of terrorism and militancy," he was quoted as saying by Associated Press of Pakistan, the official news agency.
According to APP, the United States and Japan had pledged $1 billion each, Saudi Arabia, $700 million, Iran, $330 million, the United Arab Emirates, $300 million and Turkey, $100 million.
Just last month, US president Barack Obama unveiled a plan to boost Pakistani finances by calling on the US Congress to authorize $1.5 billion every year over the next five years in non-military aid that would help build schools, roads, and hospitals.
The US president claimed this would be a "down payment" on America's future "because the security of America and Pakistan is shared."