ISLAMABAD: Britain announced on Wednesday it was doubling its development aid for Pakistan over the next four years, but tied the increase to Islamabad’s progress on the reform agenda. “The UK has deep family, historic and business ties with Pakistan. That’s why we are committed to Pakistan for the long term, to help millions of people lift themselves out of poverty, and to help Pakistan to grow in stability, prosperity and good governance,” British High Commissioner to Pakistan Adam Thomson said, explaining at a briefing the Pakistan context of the UK review of its overseas aid budget.
The high commissioner emphasised that the planned increase in aid was meant to “unlock the potential” of Pakistani youth and as such a large chunk of the assistance would be directed to deal with the “education emergency” by getting over 4 million children into schools, recruiting and training 90,000 new teachers and providing more than 6 million textbooks.
Pakistan, which is the second largest recipient of the British aid after Ethiopia with an annual assistance of £200 million, could see it scale up to £446 million a year by 2015. But this enhancement in assistance, focusing on key areas of education, health, financial inclusion, democracy and governance, is conditional and Islamabad will have to prove its commitment to reforming itself.