U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled July 19 a series of initiatives that the U.S. will implement in Pakistan over the next few years.
The projects are part of the five-year USD7.5 billion Pakistan aid law, which, as Devex reported, was approved in October 2009 by U.S. President Barack Obama.
According to information from the U.S. State Department, the projects outlined by Clinton include the following assistance:
- USD60 million for the second phase of the U.S.’s signature energy program in the country. The assistance covers seven programs. - USD50 million for the JS Private Equity Fund II LLC, which is designed to invest in Pakistan’s technology industry. - USD40 million for a new five-year gender equity program. - USD100 million over five years for the Small and Medium Enterprise Access to Finance Program aimed at improving the availability of financing to private sector entrepreneurs. - USD21 million for agricultural development through the Rural Development Dairy Project and the Mango Export Project. - The first phase of a USD28 million, three-year Signature Health Program for Pakistan, which covers the renovation and reconstruction of three medical facilities across the country. - USD120 million to assist Pakistanis affected by conflict. This assistance includes financing for the Malakand Housing initiative and a multi-donor trust fund for the northwest border region and additional donations to the World Food Program and the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. - USD270 million for the first phase of the Signature Water Program for Pakistan, which covers seven initiatives namely the Jacobabad and Peshawar Municipal Water Projects, Municipal Services Delivery Project, Gomal Zam Dam Irrigation Project, Satpara Dam Irrigation Project, High Efficiency Irrigation Project, Balochistan Water Storage Dams and an expert consultations initiative.
Clinton also announced several bilateral partnerships aimed at strengthening Pakistan and the U.S.’s cooperation in information technologies, enhancing diplomatic relations and supporting the conservation of Pakistan’s national heritage.
The aid package, amounting to almost USD700 million, is the latest of the U.S.’s efforts to gain the trust of Pakistanis and enlist their assistance in the fight against the Taliban, the Associated Press notes.
Clinton acknowledged the doubts over the U.S.’s involvement in the Asian country.
“Of course there is a legacy of suspicion that we inherited. It is not going to be eliminated overnight,” the secretary said in Islamabad. “It is however our goal to slowly but surely demonstrate that the United States is concerned about Pakistan for the long term and that our partnership goes far beyond security against our common enemies.”
Several analysts, however, have noted that the U.S. faces a difficult task in erasing decades of Pakistani mistrust.
“Public opinion will change with the change in ground realities,” Hasan-Askari Rizvi, a security analyst, said according to Reuters. “Anti-American propaganda will get negated to some extent once these projects are realised but the Pakistani public will largely remain skeptical because anti-Americanism is very strong here.”
Meanwhile, Josh Rogin of the “The Cable” blog noted that Clinton’s announcement of the development projects is a victory for Richard Holbrooke, the U.S.’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Holbrooke and several other key officials have been pushing to move the distribution of U.S. aid to Pakistan away from the control of the U.S. Agency for International Development and place more funds directly under the control of the Pakistan government and local organizations, Rogin writes.