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Wednesday June 19, 2024

US envoy announces $8.25m package for Balochistan police

By News Desk
November 21, 2023
U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Donald Blome and Caretaker Minister for Health Punjab, Prof. Javed Akram unveiling a plaque to inaugurate the Anti-Rape Crisis Cell at Nishtar Hospital on Nov 16, 2023. — APP File
U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Donald Blome and Caretaker Minister for Health Punjab, Prof. Javed Akram unveiling a plaque to inaugurate the Anti-Rape Crisis Cell at Nishtar Hospital on Nov 16, 2023. — APP File

QUETTA: US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald A Blome on Monday unveiled an over $8.25m initiative to help the capacity building of Balochistan police for countering terrorism, crime prevention and investigation processes on modern lines.

The four US government initiatives include expansion of the Anti-Terrorist Force Training Facility, upgradation of police stations damaged during floods, construction of 10 new police stations and grant for police protection equipment. They are being funded and will be implemented in collaboration with the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), which currently provides approximately $20 million in assistance nationwide.

The US ambassador announced a $4 million assistance package for the expansion of Balochistan Police’s Anti-Terrorist Force training facility. This new facility at its completion would house 800 trainees, which is almost double the current capacity. It also allocated $2 million to upgrade and repair police stations damaged in last year’s floods. The new police stations will have modern infrastructure, including digital record management and support for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. The new police stations will also feature dedicated gender desks providing a private space for vulnerable populations to report crimes and receive special care for problems or injuries. It also included an additional $2 million for the construction of 10 new police stations. Blome also announced a $250,000 equipment grant to improve the protection equipment of enforcement officers during the performance of their duties.

Ambassador Blome, along with Inspector General of Police Shaikh and representatives from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, inaugurated Balochistan’s first Women and Juvenile Facilitation Centre. This would enhance the ability of law enforcement to protect and serve women and girls.

Earlier, US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome along with Consul General Karachi Conrard Trrible called on Caretaker Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Ali Mardan Khan Domki at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.

Talking to Ambassador Blome-led delegation, Balochistan Chief Minister Ali Mardan Khan Domki said the mineral-enriched Balochistan province is the best region for foreign investment. The ongoing US assistance projects in Balochistan in peace, education, women’s economic development and communication sectors will have a lasting impact.

Appreciating the role of American government, the CM said, “United States contributed significantly to the education sector, especially the girls’ education.” The vehicles and modern equipment for the Balochistan Police will help government efforts for countering terrorism, and crime prevention and investigation processes on modern lines.

Apart from this, the project of providing business opportunities to empower the women of Balochistan is also of extraordinary importance for the development of women. “Long-lasting diplomatic and bilateral relations are established between Pakistan and the United States,” the CM said, urging the need to increase the volume of trade between both countries.

Donald Blome, on the occasion, said the Pak-US relations are based on mutual respect and are moving in a better direction. “I have always found the people of Balochistan hospitable and sincere, whenever visited the province,” he remarked. The US diplomat noted that he has also met the Baloch parliamentarians in Islamabad. Currently, Donald said, Balochistan is represented in two major key positions, ie, PM House and Senate in Pakistan, which is important for the development of the province.

About the US assistance projects in progress, he said, “We are working on peace and justice projects in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and sustainable social development is part of our goals. The United States and international organizations continued their unflinching support during the last year’s floods that hit parts of Balochistan and Sindh.”