UK committee to scrutinise aid given to Pakistan

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LONDON – The International Development Committee of the British Parliament has announced to re-launch an inquiry into the £302 million UK aid given to Pakistan and assess its effectiveness in the country.

Pakistan is the top recipient country of UK aid and was a strategic priority for the Department for International Development (DFID), said a statement issued by the UK Parliament.

The UK aid to Pakistan came under scrutiny after Britain’s Daily Mail in an article claimed that former Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharafi embezzled millions of rupees of UK’s taxpayers. The Pakistani politician has challenged the allegations in a UK court.

Britain provides aid to Pakistan to handle development challenges ranging from poverty, education, healthcare and climate change.

Pakistan has been Department for International Development’s (DFID) largest country programme for the last five years, and was expected to amount to £302 million in 2019/20, spanning across areas including human development, climate and the environment, and humanitarian aid.

“This inquiry will assess the effectiveness of the UK Government’s development policy towards Pakistan, considering its strategic focus, coherence, performance and value for money. It will look at aid administered both by the FCDO and by other government departments,” said the official statement.

Between 2018 and 2019, UK aid – across all government departments – to Pakistan saw 53% spent on human development (including health and education); 29% on economic development; 10% on governance and security; 5% on climate and the environment; and 3% on humanitarian aid.

The International Development Committee invites written submissions, with a deadline of midday 1st April 2021, on the effectiveness of UK aid to Pakistan.