Lahore: The Netherlands Government and UNDP signed an agreement today regarding the Netherlands’ contribution of USD 2 million in support of the “Strengthening Rule of Law” Programme in Malakand Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The first preparatory phase was financed by UNDP. For this second phase the Government of Netherlands has allocated a budget of USD 2 million.
The Programme was designed in close consultation with the Government of KP and other stakeholders. It will address various critical issues in the justice sector by providing technical and infrastructural support. The objectives of the program are (a) improved access to justice and legal aid; (b) improved informal justice mechanisms; (c) strengthened functioning of the judiciary and (d) improved criminal investigation and prosecution. The program will geographically focus on seven districts of Malakand Division including Swat, Malakand, Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Buner, Shangla and Chitral.
The signing was attended by H.E. H.G. Scheltema, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Mr. Jean-Luc Stalon, the Country Director (a.i.) UNDP. The occasion was held at the KP house, hosted by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Akbar Khan Hoti, Inspector General Police, Government of KP, appreciated the support extended by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to promoting rule of law, peace and security in the region of Malakand. He emphasized the need of efforts for improved court functioning, easy access to justice and legal aid to the needy people, encouraging alternate dispute resolution and effective prosecution and investigation of criminal cases. Mr. Khan urged on expansion of rule of law program to other parts of the Province where similar circumstances prevailed.
Ambassador Scheltema explained that enhancing peace, security and stability is one of the key pillars of Dutch foreign policy, thus creating an environment conducive for development and economic growth. He added that the Netherlands Government is confident that this programme will make a positive difference in strengthening the rule of law because of the strong commitment of the Government of KP and the other stakeholders.
Mr. Jean-Luc Stalon, Country Director (a.i) UNDP thanked the Embassy of the Netherlands for its generous support, he assured that the program will be implemented with the highest due diligence. He said the ownership demonstrated by partners in KP and the GOKP was commendable. He emphasized that UNDP will introduce a robust and independent monitoring system of progress and results. This will also strengthen financial transparency and accountability, he added.