WASHINGTON: The US Senate Committee on Appropriations approved a bill that allocates around $960 million in assistance for Pakistan in the 2015 fiscal year.

The powerful panel also acknowledged improved relations between the two countries since last year's elections and urged sustained commitment to common goals.

The amount is intended to target women development, education and unemployment in the country.

However, it is $65.8 million less than President Obama’s request of $1.03 billion. Of this amount, the bill is said to have allocated $816 million for assistance programs.

For women development, promoting education, merit and need-based scholarships, the education fund was allocated $3,000,000. The bill said no less than 50 per cent of the scholarships would be given to women.

The bill increases funding for polio prevention programs to $59 million, including $7.5 million in Afghanistan and Pakistan and to support a multilateral campaign to eliminate the disease, which is $9 million above the President’s request.

The committee asked the State Department to ensure that the funds are not used for the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.

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