Pakistan - International Development Committee Contents

1  Introduction

Why we held an inquiry into DFID's programme in Pakistan

1. The Department for International Development (DFID) plans to increase its bilateral programme in Pakistan from £267 million in 2012-13 to £446 million in 2014-15.[1] Making Pakistan the largest recipient of UK aid is controversial given Pakistan's unstable politics, large defence budget, historic levels of significant corruption, tax avoidance, low levels of expenditure on education and health programmes and its status as a middle income country.

2. In 2012 we decided to undertake an inquiry into DFID's programme in Pakistan, looking at the rationale for the large increase in the budget, where it was to be spent, whether it was necessary, whether it was actually wanted by Pakistan and what results it could achieve. In addition, we wanted to know what the risks were of such a large increase in spending on a country programme by DFID and how they could be mitigated. The Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) carried out an inquiry into DFID's Bilateral Aid Programme in October 2012 and our report draws on and follows up on its findings.[2]

3. It is also an appropriate time to look at Pakistan as 2013 is an important year with the prospect of holding the first ever elections where leadership passes from one civilian government to another. In March the outgoing Pakistan People's Party administration stood aside after completing a full term in office making way for a caretaker government pending the elections to be held in May. In other important changes the head of the military, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry stand down. Given its economic problems, Pakistan is in discussion with the International Monetary Fund about a possible further loan. The Pakistan authorities have yet to make a formal request. Negotiations to date have centred on the need for the Pakistan authorities to take policy actions for macroeconomic stabilisation. In the meantime, the broadly welcomed 2010 18th Amendment to Pakistan's constitution, devolving Federal powers to the Provinces, has encountered problems due to a lack of resources, expertise and capacity at the provincial level to manage and deliver formally federal development programmes.[3]

4. Against this background of change, this report looks at the arguments for and against an increase of development assistance to Pakistan, considers the main programmes DFID has in Pakistan and how they will be scaled up, and concludes with our overall concerns. It follows on from our previous published reports on Pakistan—The Humanitarian Response to the Pakistan Floods in 2011[4]and the Humanitarian response to natural disasters in 2006 which focused on the response to the Pakistan earthquake. [5]

5. We took oral evidence from academics and experts on Pakistan: Professor Anatol Lieven, Omar Wariach, Michael Green and James Fennell. We also heard expert testimony: on education, from Sir Michael Barber, Dr Matthew Nelson and Anwar Akhtar; on Pakistan's taxation and governance from Dr Ehtisham Ahmad and David Stephen. In our final evidence session we questioned the Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, and DFID's head of the Western Asia and Stabilisation Division, Moazzam Malik specifically on DFID's work in Pakistan. We would like to thank all of our witnesses, both those who came to Westminster to give evidence in person and those who sent in written evidence. We would also like to thank our specialist adviser, Mr Eamoinn Taylor who has helped us with this inquiry.

6. As part of the inquiry we travelled to Pakistan in December 2012 where we met with Government of Pakistan Ministers, DFID staff, NGO and Civil Society Organisations as well as recipients of DFID funds at schools, midwife clinics and social protection offices. A full programme for our visit is appended to the report. We are grateful to of those in Pakistan who gave up their time to meet us and to thank DFID Pakistan for facilitating a comprehensive visit programme. We would also like to thank those members of the Pakistan diaspora we met in Derby at the Jobs Education Training (JET) centre organised by the Executive Director, Mohammed Sharief, to hear their views of development assistance to Pakistan.

1   Ev 55 Back

2   ICAI, Report 15 Evaluation of DFID's Bilateral Aid to Pakistan, October 2012 Back

3   Coffey International Development in association with the IDL Group, Pakistan Country Governance Analysis 2011, April 2011and The Economist, Plugging leaks, poking holes. Who will pay for Pakistan's state? 8 December 2012 Back

4   House of Commons International Development Committee, The Humanitarian response to the Pakistan Floods, Seventh Report of Session 2010-12 HC 617 Back

5   House of Commons International Development Committee, Humanitarian response to natural disasters, Seventh Report of Session 2005-06 HC1188 Back

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Prepared 4 April 2013