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US has given Pakistan $265 million to fight terror: US State Department report

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

Islamabad: A report by the US State Department has revealed that the US has given $265 million to Pakistan during the current fiscal year. The money has been given under the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for assisting Pakistan in its counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency activities.

The fund improves Pakistan’s ability to conduct counterinsurgency operations, particularly in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and enhances the country’s ability to participate in maritime security operations and counter maritime piracy.

“Pakistan has cooperated with the US in counter-terrorism efforts and since 2001, has captured more than 600 Al-Qaeda members and their allies, and the US maintains a strong security partnership with Pakistan,” reports Dawn citing the report released by the US State Department.

The report comes as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is due to visit the US later this month, starting from Oct 21.

The report added that the US also gave Pakistan $5 million in the current fiscal year under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) assistance.

US is also Pakistan’s largest bilateral trading partner, according to the report.

During the current fiscal year, $18.72 billion was remitted back to Pakistan from overseas Pakistanis, of which 14.4 per cent was remitted back from the US.

Pakistan has taken steps over the years to liberalize its trade and investment regimes, either unilaterally or in the context of commitments made to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank, said the report released by the state department.

Furthermore, major US investments are concentrated in fast-moving consumer goods, construction, chemicals, energy, transportation, and communications, stated the report.

In January 2015, the US pledged $250 million to help Pakistan facilitate the relief, reconstruction, and the return of FATA communities displaced by counter-terrorism operations.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Pakistani Doctors Blame Quacks for Alarming Rise in HIV Cases: Report

Pakistan was considered a country of low HIV prevalence for long, but the disease is expanding at an alarming rate with about 20,000 new HIV cases reported in 2017 alone, according to the UN

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HIV
Nearly 40 individual HPV types linked to HIV infection. Pixabay

The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has blamed quack doctors practicing without training and professional certification for an alarming rise in the number of HIV positive patients in the country, the media reported on Wednesday.

The doctors associated with the PMA said that the quacks, especially fake dentists, spread the virus by using instruments that were not sterilized, adding that despite free-of-cost availability of life-saving antiretroviral drugs at government hospitals, mortality ratio among patients carrying the virus was also increasing.

An alarming surge in HIV cases has been witnessed in five districts of Pakistan’s Punjab province, with 70 to 90 cases being reported monthly at the main government health facility in Faisalabad city, Dawn News reported.

Earlier this month, an international team of experts from the World Health Organization kicked off an investigation into the sudden HIV outbreak in Pakistan’s Sindh province after over 700 people were diagnosed with the virus in a matter of weeks, most of them were children.

HIV
School girls light candles in the shape of a ribbon during a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign ahead of World Aids Day, in Ahmedabad, India, Nov. 30, 2016. (VOA)

Following the outbreak, authorities launched a crackdown on unqualified doctors as well as illegal blood banks and laboratories said to be involved in spreading the disease. At least 17 quack doctors were arrested and more than 70 clinics in Larkana district were shut down, according to Xinhua news agency.

According to the PMA, over 600,000 quacks are currently practicing in the country with more than 80,000 based in Punjab province alone.

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The association demanded the government to make all-out efforts to stop the menace of quackery in the country.

Pakistan was considered a country of low HIV prevalence for long, but the disease is expanding at an alarming rate with about 20,000 new HIV cases reported in 2017 alone, according to the UN. (IANS)