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January 24, 2020

DFID aid programme for Pakistan corruption-free


January 24, 2020

LONDON: Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood Thursday said Britain’s aid programme to Pakistan run by the Department for International Development (DFID) under the PML-N and PTI governments was “by and large” corruption-free and there was only one issue related to a construction matter.

He was addressing a press conference at the Dorchester Hotel here arranged by businessman Aneel Musarrat.

Shafqat has been in London for a week to attend the World Education Forum.

MPs Yaseen Qureshi, Afzal Khan, Imran Ahmed Khan, Lord Qurban Hussain, former MP Faisal Rasheed, Sahibzada Jahangir and Rana Abdul Sattar were also present.

Shafqat said by and large the DFID programme had been well managed and run properly under the PPP and PML-N governments. He said there had been only one issue around a construction matter.

“By and large, it has been a good programme. It’s for the DFID to assess whether the objectives were achieved or not. The DFID has a good relation with the provincial governments and we are asking them that we have informed them that we are forming a data centre at the federal level,” he said.

Shafqat said according to his knowledge no corruption took place in the DFID programme.

He went on to ask the DFID to continue supporting Pakistan through education funding. “We want the DFID to continue its support programme with us.”

Asked about allegations made by a recent article in the Mail on Sunday by David Rose about alleged corruption by Shahbaz Sharif and his family members, the federal minister said it was for the British government to investigate the matter, adding that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was investigation the corruption allegations and the final findings will be shared with the British government once completed.

“David Rose published a story on Shahbaz Sharif in the Mail on Sunday and since then he has been challenging him to sue him in the UK but Shahbaz Sharif has taken no action yet. Who knows if he will take any action? I don’t know much about these allegations but it’s not a small thing if it’s true that the flood money was diverted to the accounts of son-in-law of Shahbaz Sharif,” said the federal minister.

He said if the funds had been misused then the British government should take action but it’s not for Pakistan to tell the UK govt what to do.

He told the participants that Imran Khan’s government was fully committed to reducing the difference in education system for the poor and the privileged class.

He said ending the class system altogether was not possible but the PTI government was serious in doing its best to provide quality education to children from poor backgrounds.

He said the government had introduced madrassah reforms to modernise them in order to empower the students.