“The United States has supported Pakistan in all difficult times” – Journal

ISLAMABAD: Whether it was the devastating earthquake of 2005 or the floods of 2010, the United States government stood with the government and people of Pakistan through every difficult time.

The delicate journey of friendly relations between the two countries which started 75 years ago has grown stronger as support is provided to the nation of Pakistan in different sectors including infrastructure and development.

This was emphasized by the director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Philippe Accilien, during his intervention at a round table organized to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the partnership between Pakistan and the United States. USAID has been assisting the government of Pakistan for 61 years, building the infrastructure needed to improve the economy and increasing community resilience in addition to expanding education and health services.

In cooperation with federal and provincial governments, the agency strives to provide a quality life for people living in cities, as water, sanitation and waste management are major issues there.

Jalilur Rehman, another USAID official, said, “The United States contributed more than $300 million after the earthquake, through which 60 schools were built in Bagh and Mansehra, where the enrollment of students were over 30,000”.

He said that USAID has launched a strong infrastructure program in the tribal districts, under which more than 600 kilometers of roads and 35 bridges in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan (including two tunnels) have been built and three trade routes between Pakistan and Afghanistan were developed. Some projects are still ongoing and expected to be completed in a few years, Rehman added.

Shahid Mahmood spoke about the critical infrastructure programs the agency has launched in the education sector. These include the construction of a center for advanced studies on agriculture and food security at the University of Agriculture (Faisalabad), a center for advanced studies on water at the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (Jamshoro) and Centers for Advanced Energy Studies at National University of Science and Technology (Nust) and UET Peshawar, in partnership with Arizona State University.

The reconstruction program in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has mainly focused on education and health under which 119 schools that were damaged in terrorism-related incidents and 110 schools that were completely destroyed by floods in 2010 were been renovated. In addition, 49 health facilities were rebuilt by USAID and handed over to the health department.

Anwar Afridi said the 26 km Kalat-Quetta-Chaman road leading to the Chaman border is an important trade route which the agency was able to complete with the National Highway Authority.

He said USAID has also worked with the Sindh government on a vital education project called the “Sindh Basic Education Programme”, under which 106 schools were to be built in the seven northern districts of Sindh. the province and five cities of Karachi. So far, 83 buildings have been completed with the rest expected to be completed by September 2023.

While talking about the assistance provided in the health sector, he said that USAID had assisted in the establishment of the Burns and Trauma Center in the Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar, adding that the post- Jinnah University in Karachi had recently been completed, which includes a 60-bed psychiatric hospital. Unit and maternity with 120 beds. A state-of-the-art hospital in Jacobabad has also been built to provide healthcare services to the people of not only Sindh but also Balochistan.

Another official, Adeel Ahmed, said that under the municipal services program, a partnership with the government of Sindh was signed in 2011 to improve sanitation services in the province.

Latifur Rehman spoke about the municipal services program costing KP$43 million, adding that the project has been successfully completed through which a sewerage system and 180 drinking water wells in Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar and Mingora are functional.

Posted in Dawn, June 20, 2022

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