PESHAWAR: To develop and build capacity, the province is set to receive foreign support worth Rs1.75 billion from at least two different countries.
The support, both announced on Monday, comes in the form of an Rs1.2 billion soft loan from the Italian government to develop the archaeology department of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) apart from promoting religious tourism in the region.
In the second tranche, the Japanese government will help build infrastructure and capacity for law enforcement in the erstwhile federally administered tribal areas (Fata) in support worth Rs542 million ($3.5 million).
The soft loan was announced by Italian Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo on Monday in a meeting with K-P Senior Minister on Tourism Atif Khan at the Civil Secretariat in Peshawar.
During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations between Italy and K-P and the latter’s efforts to promote religious tourism and development of the newly-merged tribal districts (NMTDs).
Italy will set up archaeological laboratories in different districts of the province and will work on securing archival sites in the province, the envoy said.
Pontecorvo assured that the special archaeological police being created in the province will be provided with the necessary training. This force and the training, he hoped, will ensure antiquities are prevented from being smuggled from the province.
Assuring to provide funds for the development of the integrated tribal districts, the Italian envoy offered the provincial government to point out the different sectors which require development in the ex-Fata districts.
Atif thanked the Italian Ambassador for lending the archaeology department such a generous sum on easy terms apart from providing financial support for the development of NMTDs.
The senior minister pointed out that after prolonged militancy, the situation in the province was now conducive for investors. He apprised the Italian envoy that both the incumbent federal and provincial governments are taking serious steps for the promotion of tourism in the country.
“There are numerous opportunities in [investing in] the tourism sector,” Atif said, adding that the provincial government that has spent a billion rupees for the preservation and development of archaeological sites in the province.
The Japanese government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Monday joined hands to provide support to the government in building the capacity of local law enforcement agencies in NMTDs.
The two sides signed an agreement in this regard in Islamabad on Monday. The agreement was signed by Japanese Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires Yusuke Shindo and UNDP Pakistan Resident Representative Ignacio Artaza.
Under the agreement, the Japanese government will establish secure, infrastructure for police worth Rs542 million ($3.5 Million) apart from training law enforcement personnel (Levies and Khasadars) to enhance their capacity to perform policing functions in NMTDs through the UN Development Programme.
The UN has been supporting the rule of law for peaceful, just and inclusive societies under the Amn-o-Insaf Programme. The programme strengthens the supply and demand sides of rule of law and justice systems. It has been working in close collaboration with the government, law and justice institutions to improve the delivery of services to people, particularly women and other marginalised communities.
Shindo stated that “security is the basis and precondition for any development effort of a country.”
“The enforcement of laws is essential for the socio-economic development of any society because it ensures prevention of abuse of power by authorities and treats everyone equally without any injustice or discrimination,” he said, adding that strengthening the rule of law is one of the most important pillars of Japan’s foreign policy and, therefore, Japan continues to contribute to the peaceful settlement based on law and regulation in various countries.
“We believe people of the world have the right to live in peace and not in fear or distress,” he said, further mentioning that Japan will continue to support Pakistan in the future as a friend and hoped that this project will further contribute to strengthening the existing bond of friendship between the two countries.
Artaza pointed to the essential role of the rule of law in peaceful and just societies.
“Rule of law plays an essential role in promoting peaceful, just, and inclusive societies and its success is a pillar for the prosperous development of the newly-merged tribal districts”.
WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT IN ISLAMABAD
Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2019.