No corruption in DFID’s aid programme

No corruption in DFID’s aid programme under previous governments: Shafqat Mahmood

F.P. Report

LONDON: Minister for Federal education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood has said that Britain’s aid programme to Pakistan – run by the Department for International Development (DFID) – under the PMLN and PTI governments was “by and large” corruption free and there was only one issue related to a construction matter.

Shafqat Mahmood was addressing a press conference at the Dorchester Hotel, arranged by businessman Aneel Musarrat. Mahmood has been in London for a week to attend the World Education Forum. Yaseem Qureshi MP, Afzal Khan MP, Imran Ahmed Khan MP, Lord Qurban Hussain, former MP Faisal Rasheed, Sahibza Jahangir and Rana Abdul Sattar were also present on the occasion.

Shafqat Mahmood said that by and large the DFID programme has been well managed and run properly under the PPP and PMLN government. He said that there has been only one issue around a construction matter.

The Federal Education Minister and PTI leader’s statement has rebutted the sensational allegations made by the Mail on Sunday in an article in April 2016 in which the paper claimed that hundreds of millions of pounds in British aid are being poured into education in Pakistan – where corrupt officials have creamed off vast amounts of cash by creating thousands of fake teaching jobs and pocketing the salaries. The paper had claimed “the fraud is just one of the scandals in education across Pakistan, to which Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) has committed £700 million, supposedly to help the country’s impoverished children”.

The education minister said: “By and large it has been a good programme. It’s for the DFID to assess whether the objectives were achieved or not. The DFID has a good relation with the provincial governments and we are asking them that we have informed them that we are forming a data centre at the federal level.”

Shafqat Mahmood said that according to his knowledge no corruption took place in the DFID programme.

He went on to ask the DFID to continue supporting Pakistan through education funding. “We want the DFID to continue its support programme with us.”

When asked about allegations made by a recent article in the Mail on Sunday by David Rose about alleged corruption by Shehbaz Sharif and his family members, the federal minister said that it was for the British government to investigate the matter, adding that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is investigation the corruption allegations and the final findings will be shared with the British government once completed.

“David Rose published a story on Shehbaz Sharif in the Mail on Sunday and since then he has been challenging him to sue him in the UK but Shehbaz Sharif has taken no action yet. Who knows if he will take any action? I don’t know much about these allegations but it’s not a small thing if it’s true that the flood money was diverted to the accounts of son-in-law of Shehbaz Sharif,” said the federal minister.

He said that if the funds have been misused then the British government should take action but it’s not for Pakistan to tell the UK govt what to do.

Shafqat Mehmood told the participants that Imran Khan’s government was fully committed to reduce the difference in education system for the poor and the privileged class. He said that ending the class system altogether is not possible but the PTI government was serious in doing its best to provide quality education to children from poor backgrounds. He said the govt has introduced madrassah reforms to modernize madrassahs in order to empower the madrassah students.

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