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May 23, 2013

UK says BISP was Ishaq Dar’s brainchild


May 23, 2013

LONDON: The criticism during election campaign that the UK funded Benazir Income Support Scheme (BISP) bankrolled Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was unfair because the scheme is actually the brainchild of Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Ishaq Dar, it was said during a media briefing on Wednesday at the Department for International Development (DFID) headquarters.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening MP and DFID Director of Western Asia and Stabilisation Moazzam Malik briefed media on how Britain was using its aid money in Pakistan and what were the expectations of Britain from Nawaz Sharif’s government, which is expected to be installed soon.
The briefing was told that PML-N fully supported the BISP and Ishaq Dar boasted about suggesting the name to the PPP. It was alleged during the election campaigning in Pakistan that the BISP was used to get votes for PPP in rural areas but the PPP denied it. The PML-N leaders took the lead in criticising the PPP government for it and questioned the very name of the scheme. When asked if the same programme will be now named ‘Nawaz Sharif Income Support Programme’, she replied: “It’s up to the new government what they do with this scheme.”
Justice Greening said that Britain was satisfied that its money was being rightly used and Britain’s partners in Pakistan were applying strict transparency rules. She welcomed healthy criticism and said that it will only help further improve the system and ensure that every penny is used in the right way.
She said that Britain’s aid for international development “goes through a process which means ensuring that it’s transparent and we take facts and evidence” into consideration while making the decisions.
She said that the elections in Pakistan were “historic” and “for the first time a democratically elected government is handing over power to another elected government.” “There was clearly a very important debate as part of

elections in Pakistan and the PTI played a key role in that and reached out to perhaps a new generation of new voters in Pakistan who cast their votes. He (Imran Khan) has mandate in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and now has a chance to deliver to people as a government there. I think it’s a very exciting development for Pakistan to see democracy flourish and the DFID’s challenge is to continue working with those people who have been elected by the people of Pakistan for jobs, development, prosperity and growth.”
Justine Greening said that the Nawaz Sharif’s party will form the government with a clear mandate for reform. She said the election results are not only a vote of confidence in the government he will form but most of all a vote of confidence in democracy. “People have very high expectation including on tax reforms. We will be there to provide help, advice and support and continue with our programmes,” she said.
Justine Greening MP said that British taxpayers were “right to demand value for money in all aspects of our government fund including the international development funding” and therefore were right to ask why Pakistan’s richest were not paying no or little tax.
“I was very pleased to see the new government clearly address tax reforms and increase tax percentage. I am interested in how they aim to achieve that goal. But there is no doubt that everybody wants to see people pay their fair share whichever country they are in and that (paying the fair share) needs to starts from the top down,” she stated.

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