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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Pakistan to get $200 mn for democracy, gender equality from US

Pakistan's allocation under the US fund for gender equality is a 20-fold increase from the funds reserved in 2020.

In a major development, the US has decided to provide Pakistan with $200 million for promoting gender equality and democracy.

According to the details, the US Senate recently passed a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package for fiscal 2023 and it includes $200 million for promoting gender equality and strengthening democracy in Pakistan.

The package, passed on Thursday evening, also includes $858 billion for defence, $787bn for non-defence domestic programmes and over $15bn for other programmes.

Interestingly, Pakistan’s allocation under the US fund for gender equality is a 20-fold increase from the funds reserved in 2020. In December 2020, the US congress cleared $10m for promoting gender equality and $15m for strengthening democracy in Pakistan. While in 2000, Pakistan received $25 million for the same purpose.

Pertinent to mention, Pakistan, with a population of 107 million women, is the second-worst country in terms of gender parity, as per the 2022 Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum. The country ranks 145 among 146 countries. Therefore, the US spending for Pakistan is a welcoming development.

Read more: National gender policy framework 2022 launched to encourage ‘women empowerment’

Afghanistan was 146 and India 135 on the index. Bangladesh and Nepal lead regional performance with over 69 per cent of their gender gaps closed. Bangladesh was 71 and Nepal 96.

Democracy in Pakistan

For a country to progress, democracy is important. The most important indicator of the quality of democracy in a country, specifically Pakistan, could be the scale of social, political and economic stability.

At this point in time, Pakistan is far from having political stability rather it is the most politically unstable country in the contemporary world. The 13-party coalition government has faced a huge drop in its popularity.

At the moment the biggest problem in Pakistan is a total economic meltdown which has escalated the political instability as the government and its opponents keep blaming each other for the economic mess.

Read more: Mercurial political situation and its inverse impact on Pakistan’s economy

Pakistan was downgraded by S&P Global Ratings as a series of shocks — from flooding to surging inflation — caused the nation’s external, fiscal and economic metrics to further deteriorate.