The European Union and Pakistan has finalized an agreement for the EU to provide 13 million euro ( 17.55 million U.S. dollars) in funding for a program intended to support Pakistan's four provincial assemblies, the European Union mission in Islamabad said Monday.
The funding will also cover the legislative assemblies of northern areas of Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Besides, the program will provide support to Pakistan's primary human rights institutions and oversight institutions, a EU statement said.
Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, head of the Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan, welcomed the signature of the program, which has been developed jointly by the European Union and the Government of Pakistan.
"A functioning democracy is an important pre-condition for the stability and prosperity of any nation. The successful elections in May this year clearly showed the commitment of the people of Pakistan to the democratic process. In order to sustain democracy you need robust democratic institutions and I believe this program can make an important contribution," said Wigemark.
Giving background of the program, the EU said it adopts a comprehensive approach to support government and parliamentary agencies of Pakistan in their commitment to building responsive and modern democratic institutions, both at the federal and provincial level.
The first component will work with the Pakistan provincial assemblies and the legislative assemblies of Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir to advance the functioning of the parliamentary institution through effective legislation, strengthened policy and budget oversight and enhanced representation.
Particular attention will be given to issues of election standards, budget and fiscal oversight, assembly proceedings and effective use of parliamentary oversight tools, including awareness of government rules of business, legislative and research support.
It complements the on-going 7 million euro (9.45 million U.S. dollars) Federal parliamentary assistance program "Improving Parliamentary Performance." The EU's combined parliamentary support package to the Federal and provincial assemblies of Pakistan amounts to 17 million (22.95 million U.S. dollars).
The program runs for four years with the overall objective of strengthening the democratic experience and rights of the Pakistani people as a whole, especially the most vulnerable, including children, religious minorities and women.