The Netherlands is suspending its development aid to the Pakistan government in protest at the state of emergency called by general Pervez Musharraf, aid minister Bert Koenders announced on Monday.
‘It is a dramatic situation which we strongly disapprove of and which is bad for the democracy, development and people of Pakistan,’ he told news agency ANP.
The Netherlands is giving €15m in aid to Pakistan this year, with a further €40m earmarked for 2008. Most of that money – about €30m – is to go to educational programmes. The rest is for the environment and water management, and human rights and democratisation, according to ANP. The minister is now reconsidering 2008’s budget.
Koenders wants political prisoners released, the legal system restored and free and fair elections as early as possible and has denounced the arrest of opposition politicians, human rights workers and journalists.
The minister wants to continue support for human rights organisations and democratisation programmes through local non-government organisations, says ANP.
In Saturday’s NRC Handelsblad Koenders said that ‘dictators and corrupt politicians will not receive a cent from me’.
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