Shad Begum is a courageous human rights activist and leader who has changed the political context for women in the extremely conservative district of Dir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. As founder and executive director of Association for Behavior and Knowledge Transformation (ABKT), Ms. Shad provides political training, microcredit, primary education, and health services to women in the most conservative areas of Pakistan. Ms. Shad not only empowered the women of Dir to vote and run for office, she herself ran and won local seats in the 2001 and 2005 elections against local conservatives who tried to ban female participation. Despite threats, Ms. Shad continues to work out of Peshawar to improve the lives of women in the communities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
QUESTION: Ambassador Rehman also said that what Pakistan is looking – not aid from the U.S., but trade, and she said that as far as textile tariffs are concerned – and also, what I’m asking you is: Is Pakistan – is U.S. focusing more to spend money more on the development in Pakistani people in order to have a better image of U.S. in Pakistan?
MS. NULAND: Well, Goyal, as you know, the Secretary has been one of the most vocal advocates of switching as much of our economic relationship with Pakistan from aid to trade. That’s been the focus of the Department’s efforts with the Pakistani Government over the last couple of years, and some of the internal reviews we’ve done are focused on that. So we are investing in the economic health and strength of the country. We are investing in energy. We’re investing in education. We are investing in democracy programs and development, so – and micro-lending and all of these kinds of things. So it’s not about improving our image. It’s about helping to strengthen a stable, peaceful, democratic Pakistan.
QUESTION: Ambassador Sherry Rehman is expected to reach Washington this weekend. What kind of challenges do you think she will be facing? Because she comes at an important time when there is a sort of deadlock.
MS. NULAND: She does indeed come at an important time. We’re looking forward to having her here in the United States. We will, obviously, make clear to her that we consider this relationship extremely important. And although it is challenging, although it is difficult, we continue to believe that the United States and Pakistan and citizens throughout the region have an interest in the closer cooperation of our countries, and particularly in defeating the threats that challenge us both, and particularly the threat from terrorism.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters today that while the US considers the issue dubbed “memogate” an internal issue for Pakistan, they are monitoring the situation closely and expect Pakistan’s former Ambassador to be “accorded all due consideration under Pakistani law and in conformity with international legal standards.”
QUESTION: On the subject of Pakistani ambassadors to the U.S., is there anything more than the very little that you’ve had to say this week about former Ambassador Haqqani?
MS. NULAND: Well, just to say again what we’ve been saying, but perhaps a little bit more clearly, while it’s obviously an internal matter for Pakistan and we respect Pakistan’s constitutional and legal processes, we expect that any process for resolving the matter of Ambassador Haqqani will proceed in a way that is fair, that’s transparent, that is as expeditious as possible. We also expect that Ambassador Haqqani will be accorded all due consideration under Pakistani law and in conformity with international legal standards. And we will be watching and monitoring the situation closely.
The following remarks were given by Assistant Secretary William Brownfield at a wreath laying ceremony at the Pakistan National Police Martyr’s Memorial on July 4, 2011.
Inspector General, senior officers, officers and men of the Islamabad Police and all representatives of Pakistan’s law enforcement, I thank you very much for the honor of joining you today, particularly this day, the 235th anniversary of the independence of the country I represent, the United States of America. You do me high honor in allowing me to share it with you.
Inspector General, since the dawn of history, all societies, peoples and countries have had two professions of arms: one to protect our communities from the threats from outside and the second to protect our communities from the threats from inside. And while I, the grandson, son and brother of Army officers have enormous respect for the military, it is now and always has been the police that protect our communities day after day. They patrol our streets and protect our homes, they rescue our children and confront the criminals, they solve crimes, and they bring justice to our communities. Whether it’s Islamabad or Washington, Lahore or New York, Karachi or Los Angeles, they are the bedrock of our communities.
Ladies and gentlemen, from time to time, far too often, they pay the ultimate price, they make the ultimate sacrifice. Inspector General, about one month ago, specifically on the seventh of June, I participated in an annual ceremony at the U.S. Law Enforcement Memorial in the city of Washington, where all American police, federal, state and local police met to honor those who fell that year. We added nearly 40 names to the memorial. We are here today at Pakistan’s memorial where 500 names are already inscribed and 1,400 more will soon be inscribed. We say about each of those names that when others fled, they stood; when others cowered, they protected their communities; while others lived in cowardice, they died in honor. To them, to their families, I offer thanks, I offer respect, and I offer the highest honors.
If I might close on this 4th of July, quoting the words of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who said in Gettysburg in 1863, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.” Members of the Pakistani Law Enforcement Community, I thank you, I honor you, and I respect you. Thank you very much.
Beginning today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will meet during the third US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue in Washington, DC. But what exactly does ‘Strategic Dialogue’ mean, and what with the officials from each countries be discussing?
Yesterday, U.S. Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Frank Ruggiero briefed the press about the dialogues and answered many of these questions.
“Ramadan teaches and reinforces values that are honored by millions and tens and hundreds of millions of people from other faiths and beliefs. So tonight, while we celebrate together, let us consider how we can build broader and deeper bonds of mutual understanding, mutual respect and cooperation among people of all faiths in the year to come, here at home and abroad. And let us also reflect on how we can improve our efforts to ensure that we create more opportunity for more people in more places to live up to their own God-given potential.”
“Currently more than 20 million Pakistanis have been affected by the worst natural disaster in Pakistan’s history. That is more than the population of New York State. The enormity of this crisis is hard to fathom, the rain continues to fall, and the extent of the devastation is still difficult to gauge.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones, those who have been displaced from their homes, and those left without food or water. The United States has and continues to take swift action to help. But governments cannot be alone in helping the people of Pakistan.
“That is why the United States Government through the Department of State has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for all Americans to join in this tremendous relief, recovery and reconstruction effort.
“The pictures we see coming out of Pakistan are painful images of human suffering at its worst. In surveying the lives and landscape affected by this disaster, we see brothers and sisters; mothers and fathers; daughters and sons. We see 20 million members of the human family in desperate need of help. This is a defining moment – not only for Pakistan, but for all of us.
“And now is a time for our shared humanity to move us to help. Americans have always shown great generosity to others facing crises around the world. And I call on you to do what you can. Every dollar makes a difference. $5 can buy 50 high energy bars providing much needed nutrition; $10 can provide a child or mother with a blanket; and about $40 can buy material to shelter a family of four.
“So I urge my fellow Americans to join this effort and send much needed help to the people of Pakistan by contributing to the Department of State’s Pakistan Relief Fund. Please go to www.state.gov or send $10 through your mobile phone by texting the word FLOOD, F-L-O-O-D, to 27722.
“If we come together now, we can meet this challenge and ensure that future generations in Pakistan have a chance to have the bright future they deserve and fulfill their own God-given potential.”
Source: US State Department
The US has pledged an additional $20 Million in flood relief assistance to Pakistan this week, bringing the total monetary aid to $55 Million. At a State Department briefing yesterday, Mark Ward, the Acting Director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, and Dan Feldman, Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, discussed the priority that the US is making to helping the people of Pakistan.
At present, the US has pledged at least $55 Million and expects that number will grow as more information is gathered about needs on the ground and how the US can most effectively help Pakistanis.
Americans are also flying helicopter rescue missions and have delivered more than 100,000 pounds worth of humanitarian commodities and transported more than 700 Pakistanis out of remote areas.
Pakistan’s Ambassador the United States, Husain Haqqani, has been meeting with senior American officials at the White House and the State Department to coordinate relief efforts.
Pakistan’s democratically elected President Asif Ali Zardari has suffered repeated accusation of corruption, including what is referred to in Pakistan as the so-called “Swiss Case.” What is largely missing from discussion of these charges, however, is historical context. These and other corruption charges were part of a widespread practice of using kangaroo courts to silence the democratic opposition to Pakistan’s past military dictators.