U.S. Launches Gems and Jewelry Center of Excellence for FATA

April 24, 2010
Pakistani and U.S. Officials Launch Gem Center in Peshawar

On April 22, 2010 in Peshawar, Pakistan, the United States Government, in partnership with the NWFP University of Engineering and Technology and the Pakistan Gems and Jewelry Development Company, launched a $600,000 FATA Center of Excellence for Gems and Jewelry to uplift the gem industry and create jobs for the people of FATA.

This center is one tangible example of U.S. and Pakistan cooperation -- cooperation that is part of a results-oriented partnership for the future that the United States and Pakistan reaffirmed during the recent Strategic Dialogue, held March 24-25 in Washington, DC. The United States pledged long-term support for Pakistan's efforts to strengthen democratic institutions, foster economic development, expand opportunity, and defeat the extremist groups who threaten both nations' common security. Progress will come through focused partnerships in a range of substantive areas and from a joint willingness to work constructively to address any difference or difficult issues.

"The establishment of this Center of Excellence will improve extraction techniques, cutting, polishing, and gemstone identification," said U.S. Consul General in Peshawar Ms. E. Candace Putnam. "The U.S. is proud to support the government of Pakistan in improving livelihoods of the people of FATA, and looks forward to a long-term partnership to improve not only livelihoods, but infrastructure, health and education," she said.

"We appreciate support from the international community, especially the U.S., for their focus on community and infrastructure development in FATA," said Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani. "The gems center will provide livelihood opportunities to the people of NWFP [Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa] and FATA, thereby contributing significantly towards the attainment of economic growth and stability," he added.

The FATA Center of Excellence for Gems and Jewelry is part of the $750 million support the U.S. government is providing in development assistance to FATA over five years to improve health, education, and infrastructure; develop businesses; and create employment opportunities.



Fauzia H.
North Dakota, USA
April 24, 2010

Fauzia H. in North Dakota writes:

This is a very good thing that USA is doing for the beleagured people of FATA.

More projects for development are needed there. There are still hundreds of thousands of people living as IDPs in tent villages and more and more people are being displaced from their homes as the war in their region expands.

People have lost homes, dignity and their livelihood . The UNHCR is running out of funds to support the IDPs.If we want the war to succeed then we have to make sure that these people that left their homes so the army can carry out their operations in their hometowns and villages , are taken care of.

More people died in Pakhtunkhwa in the last month than in Iraq or Afghanistan.

This hopeless situation of the locals is not being covered in the International media. These are the forgotten people of a forgotten war.

Most of the locals are making their own private militias to fight the Taliban and to protect themselves. The local Pashtuns know and realize that Taliban are their enemy and want to
be rid of them. Last month a Peace committe (AMAN TEHREEK) held a jirga in Peshawar and local Pashtun leaders from all over Pakhtunkhwa came there to sign a declaration of

Peace and that they want to be rid of Taliban and criticized the role of army in creation of Taliban.

Some of the leaders who spoke at the peace Jirga have been targeted and killed by the Taliban in the areas that have supposedly been cleared of Talibans and is currently under military control. One by one anti Taiban leaders are being targeted.

Looks like after all the operations that have been carried out by the military the Taliban's capacity to inflict damage and strike when and wherever they want hasn't been diminished.
Neither the culprits responsible for the chaos in Swat have been captured. None of the leaders like Fazluulah have been killed or captured.Only the Taliban leaders that decide to go rogue and negotiate with Karzai or UN ,like Mullah Baradar are captured.

Our Retd Generals like Hameed Gul and Aslam Baig are bossom buddies with Taliban and communicate with them all the time and support them. There are still some Taliban sympathizers in the army. Recently pro Govt , anti Taliban tribals in Terah were bombarded and 70 or more innocent civilians died , even the home of serving military soldiers was bombed. They have flags on their homes to mark who they are so that they are not bombed. These people have kept the Taliban effectively out of their villages, and their homes are bombed ?

Doesn't make sense to the locals. Who now will hate military as much as they hate Taliban. Unless the support structure of Taliban is destroyed in Punjab where they operate freely and have the support of local ruling party politicians , no matter how much they bomb waziristan or tribal areas the problem of militancy in Pakistan won't be solved. The madrassas there provide a never endng supply of Jihadis and suicide bombers.If we want a resolution to this problem then we have to adress the problem of militancy in Punjab.

Naveed A.
United States
April 24, 2010

Naveed A. in U.S.A. writes:

One of the things I would strongly suggest is that detailed oversight is needed to make sure that the money donated actually goes to the development of the Center of Excellence and not elsewhere. I has to be also stressed that locals in FATA are allowed to be educated and trained so that they profit from these businesses rather than being left as second tier workers only.

The erradication of terrorism is a multi-pronged approach. There are military aspects, law enforcement aspects and then the most important, the erradication of poverty and discrimination and allowing freedom and human dignity to be the primary driving force in these people's lives.

The people of FATA sorely need these kinds of projects. I comend the US State Department in persuing these policies. Ensuring that the resident's of FATA are no onger exploited, will result in safe lands that will be resistant to the scourge of terrorism.

Ajmal K.
April 24, 2010

Ajmal K. in Pakistan writes:

This is really a a very good step of the US state department. Although there is still a need to involve the locals of FATA through their political representitives as the Pakistan's military and civil beauracracy is not trustworthy. Being from the region we have seen that these non-representitive people have strenthened the pro-terrorist people which have rendered the efforts to develop a momentum against the fundamentalists and terrorists.

Tehmeer P.
April 25, 2010

Tehmeer P. in Pakistan writes:

This is a one of the greatest move Unites States of America has taken.

However, in FATA as well and in Pakistan as whole. U.S must ensure that Pakisan promulgate new minimum wage law, which must provide life, liberty and persuit of happiness. That means, atleast two hundred rupees per hour, and checks must be made atleast by weekly. It is not that difficult, actually, propationality of wages compare to net profits is also one of the major factor for terrorisam.

It is immenint that correct laws must be promulgated and right system must be established, so, Pakistani people can understand the true meaning of liberty.

It is the time that it must be cleared to Pakistani people that culprits,who deprive them from their liberties lies among them.

Taxes must be high on rich and refunds must be made with earn income credits, so people can spend with refunds. That means atleast Rs. 40,000 extra for a family of two kidds.

And, must have pass law that provides free Suplementary Social Income to elderly and free Medicare.

To, supplement Government of Pakistan's effort U.S. can establish basic medical insuracne from their own. It is because Pakistan's Government structure is not that established to deal with this. However, Paksitan has made a very advanced CNIC system. U.S. can use CNIC system to access all records online and can provide payments directly online to registered to hospitals. This approach is more IT based, means funds can be audited online. Hospitals will comply, since they will be registered and do not want to lose registration with U.S.

This approach will give several benefits. First, U.S. can spend directly on people with the help of Pakistan Government using United States own auditing and survalance system. Second, Pakistani Hospitals will learn basic internation requirement and rules regarding treating patients. Third, Pakistan people will be aware that where are the funds actually coming from. This will strengthen the relationship of Pakistani people with people of United States of America.

Also, It is getting very clear from Pakistani forces atleast in Karachi that they are not taking any serious actions. Especially, they do neglect serious reports and do patrol in 1970,s style. I hope it is not going in FATA also.

In Karachi their patroling deems more of a disguiss approach then taken it seriously.

Tehmeer P.
April 28, 2010

Tehmeer A.P. in Pakistan writes:

Also, Judiciary of Pakistan needs to correct itself seriousely. I have meet a court clerk from Sindh High Court on bus today and he confess himself that he do not even move file until he gets bribe for it. He also confessed that he is 10 grade pass only.

Further, I have heared also that money has been given to expensive law firms to do research where is the problem in Judiciary. Albiet, problem is conspicuous. Pakistan Judiciary has illitrate curpt court clerks (processors). IT integration in at the level of almost none. Court buidlings looks like haunted houses from 18th centuary and it deems that roofs will fall down. While only few attorneys' houses appear as palaces.

So, now we really know where is the problem?

It deems like doing research on turbo engine while car do not have even axle and wheels!

New York, USA
April 28, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

Bad move....1st deal with narotics-terror nexus in Afghanistan...then, the corrupt trafficking illicit-trade of Afghan natural resources (gems,marble,etc.) into Peshawar...stop throwing gas on the fire of instability....we have the cart way ahead of the horse on the AfPak road.


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