PESHAWAR: US Ambassador Donald Blome visited Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) from February 28 to March 2 to deepen the United State’s partnership with the people of KP through initiatives related to economic growth, education, security, and cultural preservation.
To strengthen the U.S.-Pakistan economic partnership in KP, the Ambassador and KP Planning and Development Secretary Shah Mahmood Khan inaugurated a new U.S.-funded, $24 million, five-year project to strengthen and modernize the agriculture sector and small and medium enterprises. Ambassador Blome also met with business leaders at FF Steel to talk about trade and commerce in the province, as well as environmental practices in business.
To highlight educational activities, Ambassador Blome visited Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan to inaugurate a new English Works! program. The United States is providing scholarships for 215 KP students to complete a six-month program in Mardan and Charsadda to improve their English language proficiency and other skills needed for professional success. Since 2019, the United States has provided more than $3 million to support English language education in KP, benefiting more than 3,500 students and teachers in this province.
Ambassador Blome also inaugurated a reconstructed higher secondary school in Akbarpura that was damaged in the devastating 2010 floods. The United States invested $1.5 million to rebuild the school, which employs over 50 teachers and is educating more than 1,100 students. In addition, the Ambassador visited a government girls’ primary school where a U.S.-funded program increases school enrollment among Afghan refugee and Pakistani host community girls. This program is part of the U.S. government’s nearly $60 million in assistance for refugees and their host communities in Pakistan in Fiscal Year 2022.
Ambassador Blome also visited the historic Fort Bala Hisar to meet the Frontier Corps KP-North Major General and inaugurated the construction of eight U.S.-funded new joint check posts in the Newly Merged Districts. The following day, the Ambassador met the new Inspector General of KP Police, Akhtar Hayat Khan, to discuss U.S. support for KP police and their facilities. The Ambassador shared condolences for the officers and citizens who lost their lives in the January 30 Peshawar Mosque attack while thanking him for the service and recognizing the bravery of the KP police.
The Ambassador concluded his trip to KP with cultural activities, including visiting the iconic Mahabat Khan Mosque in the heart of Peshawar. From 2002 to 2003, the United States provided more than $14,000 to restore the Mughal-era decorations on the lower walls of the mosque.
The Ambassador also enjoyed traditional KP cuisine during a meeting with food and culture enthusiast Shah Jee at a local restaurant. He wrapped up his trip by welcoming a group of exchange alumnae to a movie screening at the Consulate to kickstart Women’s History Month activities that will be arranged throughout March.