Working across the U.S. government, and in cooperation with Pakistan, international donors, and development partners, U.S. assistance has focused on projects supporting economic growth and bilateral trade, energy, governance and rule of law, refugees and refugee-hosting communities, law enforcement, civil society, people-to-people exchanges, and countering infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
There is also a long history of humanitarian work that binds our countries. We were there for Pakistan during the Kashmir earthquake of 2005 and the floods of 2010 and 2011, and now today we are helping lead efforts to ensure Pakistanis in need receive life-saving assistance amid the devastating flooding throughout the country.
Over the past twenty years, the US had provided more than $32 billion in direct support to the people of Pakistan. But our investments began well before that. In the 1960s, we helped support the “Green Revolution” in Pakistan, which led to higher yielding varieties of key crops like wheat and rice, dramatically boosting economic opportunities for rural Pakistanis and increasing life expectancy across the country.
We invested in Pakistan’s electrification more than 50 years ago, constructing dams and hydropower plants that continue to provide reliable, efficient, and clean energy today. These projects dramatically increased the nation’s electricity capacity – today powering the homes of more than 50 million people. The dams also help to prevent catastrophic water shortages, mitigate the effects of flooding, and expand agricultural productivity. The Mangla and Tarbela Dams alone can store about 10 percent of the water passing through Pakistan. Gomal Zam Dam irrigation doubled agricultural output in the surrounding area, providing food and economic opportunities to thousands of people, and helped save lives and livelihoods during the recent flooding.
Beyond infrastructure, our engagement has helped build perhaps the strongest part of our bilateral bond: people-to-people connections. Since 1950, our two governments have promoted mutual understanding through higher education exchanges like the Fulbright program. Today, we contribute more to the Fulbright Program in Pakistan than in any other country. The power of our people-to-people relationship is evident in our vibrant 37,000-member alumni network – the largest in the world. These ties keep our bonds strong no matter what may be happening in the world around us.
Our health cooperation prepared Pakistan to weather the COVID-19 pandemic better than many other countries, and the United States donated nearly 80 million high-quality and effective U.S. vaccine doses. We’ve also invested $80 million to help Pakistan combat this pandemic while building infrastructure and resiliency for the future.