Britain to double its assistance to Pakistan

July 3rd, 2008 - 9:20 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taliban
Islamabad, July 3 (DPA) Britain announced Thursday it will double its financial aid to militancy-hit Pakistan, making it to 480 million pounds (about $950 million) by 2011. The announcement was made by British Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander, who signed an agreement to this effect with the Pakistani government in Islamabad.

The programme, largely meant to eliminate poverty and improve the social sector, would also focus on development in Pakistan’s tribal areas, which have seen a steep rise in Islamic militancy.

Some 250 million pounds would be spent over the next three years to bring around five million children to schools in the tribal belt, which has turned into a safe haven for Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters launching cross-border attacks on international forces in Afghanistan.

“We hope the UK assistance would go a long way in improving the health and education facilities in the country and provision of basic services to people,” Alexander said, according to a statement released by Pakistan’s finance ministry.

Pakistan has now become the second biggest recipient of US assistance, he added.

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