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Sunday, March 03, 2024  
22 Shaban 1445  

US envoy announces four initiatives to boost Pakistan’s counter terrorism efforts

Allocates over $8 million for new initiatives to bolster law enforcement capabilities in Balochistan
US Ambassador Donald Blome speaks to reporters during his visit to Gwadar, Balochistan on September 12, 2023. Photo via Facebook/US Embassy Pakistan
US Ambassador Donald Blome speaks to reporters during his visit to Gwadar, Balochistan on September 12, 2023. Photo via Facebook/US Embassy Pakistan

US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome unveiled on Monday four initiatives to bolster the capabilities of Pakistani law enforcement in their efforts to safeguard local communities. Worth over $8 million, the programmes are focused on Balochistan.

“These projects are funded and will be implemented in collaboration with the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL),” said a statement. “The INL currently provides approximately $20 million in assistance nationwide.”

The development came during his visit to Quetta, Balochistan where he met with caretaker Balochistan Chief Minister Ali Mardan Khan Domki.

Below are the four initiatives:

Anti-terrorist force training facility expansion

A $4 million assistance package would facilitate the expansion of Balochistan Police’s Anti-Terrorist Force training facility, doubling its current capacity, and allowing simultaneous instruction for an additional 800 trainees.

Upgraded police stations

The US has allocated $2 million to repair and upgrade 10 flood-damaged police stations. They would include modern infrastructure, such as digital record management and support for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, thereby supporting more responsive service to local communities.

“The facilities will also feature dedicated gender desks that will provide a private space for vulnerable populations to report crimes and receive special care for problems or injuries resulting from those crimes.”

Construction of new police stations

An additional $2 million would be dedicated to constructing 10 new police stations to improve service to women, girls, and all Pakistanis.

Equipment support

While recognising the risks faced by law enforcement officers, the US announced a $250,000 equipment grant to better protect enforcement officers as they undertake their duties.

In addition to announcing the new initiatives, Ambassador Blome, along with Inspector General of Police Shaikh and representatives from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), inaugurated Balochistan’s first Women and Juvenile Facilitation Center. The centre was constructed in collaboration with the UNODC with an aim to enhance the ability of law enforcement to protect and serve women and girls.

In his meeting with interim Balochistan CM, Blome had discussions on a range of topics including US assistance programmes.

The ambassador reaffirmed “strong” US support for the economic development of all parts of Pakistan, including Balochistan.

“The US and Pakistan have cooperated on civilian security and rule of law for more than 40 years. Our partnership improves justice institutions and providing law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to secure Pakistan’s border, fight narcotics trafficking, and combat terrorism. Taken together, these efforts protect Pakistan’s citizens and make Pakistan safer, stronger, and more secure,” said the statement.

Blome pays tribue to martyrs

Blome reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to Pakistan in its effort to protect and defend its people from the scourge of terrorism. He added that the police and law enforcement officials were on the front lines of that fight every single day.

“Our partnership improves justice institutions and provides law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to protect Pakistan’s citizens,” he said.

The ambassador expressed hope that all such projects would increase police capacity to protect the civilians of Balochistan.

“The tragic attacks that have taken place over the past few months in Balochistan remind us that much work remains,” he said and mentioned that more than 50 officers were martyred this year. Blome extended his condolences to the bereaved families, loved ones, colleagues, and friends.

They observed silence to honor their service and their sacrifice.

“I’d like to underscore the United States’ commitment to working with Pakistan to build a safer, secure, and more prosperous future. A future that safeguards freedom and opportunity for the Pakistani people and promotes greater stability across the entire region.

This future is only possible with sustained security and equitable rule of law,“ Blome said.

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