Washington, Jun 25: The US Senate has approved the tripled aid bill for Pakistan worth 1.5 billion dollars over the next five years.
The aid, which is a part of the financial assistance pledged by the United States to help Pakistan counter extremism, would primarily be utilized for upgrading the facilities for the security forces, and improve educational and judicial systems.
"This legislation marks an important step toward sustained economic and political cooperation with Pakistan," said senior Republican Senator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar.
The bill has already been approved by the House of Representatives earlier this month. One of the important characteristics of the bill is that it mentions the setting-up of certain Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZ's) in the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The basic purpose of setting-up these ROZ's is that they will serve as an area from where textiles and other items can be exported duty-free to America.
The US Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke told a House committee that the ROZ's would help create job opportunities for the people of the region, who have been rendered homeless and are left with nothing due to the continuous military combat and militancy there.
"Creating jobs in the Federally Administered tribal Areas of Pakistan (FATA) served US security interests. Americans have died because people out of work in the FATA, the western tribal areas, joined the Taliban and jobs could reduce that," The News quoted Holbrooke, as saying.