The work of a new Pakistani-American organization can go far to ease the burdens of many Pakistanis as their government battles the Taliban and al-Qaeda and strengthens its economy and institutions, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday.
Ms. Clinton, the keynote speaker at the American Pakistan Foundation’s inaugural benefit to raise funds for the organization, told some 500 people that the United States plans to focus future additional aid on energy, transportation, agriculture, water and education.
But the work that needs to be done in Pakistan, such as aid to bolster the economy and military operations against the Taliban, can’t be done by governments alone, she said.
“Initiatives like these can help lighten the burdens that too many Pakistani families are now struggling to lift on their own,” Ms. Clinton said.
The official launch of the American Pakistan Foundation comes just days after bombings in two Pakistan cities killed 46 people, a coordinated attack by militants in the wake of a Pakistani army offensive against a Taliban stronghold in the northwest near the Afghan border.
Most militant attacks in recent weeks have been directed at security forces, though several have targeted crowded public spaces like markets, apparently to create public anger and increase pressure on the government to call a halt to the offensive.
More than 400 people have been killed since the beginning of October, including 105 in a Peshawar market frequented by women. That attack occurred while Ms. Clinton was visiting Pakistan.
The new organization is the result of a meeting in May 2009 in New York at the invitation of the Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Dr. Nafis Sadik, a special advisor to the United Nations Secretary General who chairs the organization, said the group will enlist the help of the Pakistani diaspora and pursue financial support from corporations and individuals to build partnerships on the ground in Pakistan.
“Social development is needed in the areas of education and health,” she said. “There are many gaps.”