Financial assistance to Pakistan: US Congress votes against proposal to cut aid

Published: July 9, 2011

Republican lawmaker proposed to decrease monetary help by $2b. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

WASHINGTON: 

Two amendments proposing to cut $2 billion in US aid to Pakistan were voted against in the United States House of Representatives on Thursday, despite the discomfort expressed by several legislators about continuing aid to Pakistan after Osama bin Laden was found and killed in Abbottabad.

The amendments to the Defence Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2012 were moved by Representative Ted Poe, a Republican from the state of Texas.

The first amendment proposed slashing $1 billion from the funds that the US government gives countries that have partnered in helping the US in the war against terrorism. That amendment failed in a 131-297 vote.

The second amendment to the defence appropriations act moved by Poe proposed a cut of $1 billion in funds that the US gives Pakistan for its efforts in counter-insurgency activities.

Various members of the Senate and House have in the past called for a new look at aid being given to Pakistan after the Abbottabad raid in May that led to Osama Bin Laden’s death.

Amendments to money bills are frequently proposed by several members of the  435-member US House of Representatives, but most do not pass. Under the US political system, most of the deliberations and debates over specific bills takes place within the committees, both in the House and the Senate, where the bills originate.

Poe is not a member of any of the House committees that would be involved in drafting the defence budget, or even the overall US budget. He is also not a member of the Congressional leadership of the Republican Party.

Ted Poe holds the same seat in the United States Congress that was once held by Charlie Wilson, the congressman who was instrumental in securing US financial support for the mujahideen against the Soviet Union in the 1980s war in Afghanistan. Wilson’s efforts were chronicled in a book by George Crile titled “Charlie Wilson’s War”, which was also made into a movie by the same name.

The US government has halted the release of money under the Coalition Support Fund, as relations between the two countries have been marred by mistrust. US officials believe Pakistan overstates the expenses it incurs in the war against terrorism.

The fund was set up by the US Congress after the September 11, 2001, attacks to reimburse allies for costs in supporting the US-led war on militancy. Until May, Pakistan had received $8.8 billion from this fund since the attacks.

Last month, reports had emerged that the US has threatened that it will cut off civil and military aid to Pakistan after the country launched a crackdown against the “Central Investigation Agency (CIA) network” and expressed reluctance to go after the deadly Haqqani group based in North Waziristan Agency.

That the amendment was introduced by a Republican in Congress should worry policymakers in Islamabad, who have traditionally relied on support from that party since Democrats, the other major party in the United States, has historically been more hostile towards Pakistan.

While Republican leaders did not back the amendment, several influential lawmakers, such as Senator Lindsay Graham (Republican from South Carolina) and Senator Carl Levin (Democrat from Michigan) have questioned the US alliance with Pakistan and have begun to use increasingly hostile language about what they perceive to be Islamabad’s deceptive behaviour.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Usman
    Jul 9, 2011 - 1:13PM

    We pakistanis will be very pleased if US cut off all the aids which is being served among the government of pakistan at the cost of poor people

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  • shuja
    Jul 9, 2011 - 3:09PM

    @Usman:
    I think Pakistan is once again going to be ditched because it is the historical fact that they stab on the back whom they use to full length.Whatever they say they are a defeated force now.They instead of fighting out the Taliban have pushed them to Pakistan.Their own trained terrorists of Russian war times have been pushed to Pakistan.This is fruit of american seeds which we are reaping.Let them stop the aid,we are nation of brave people.We will prove that we can survive.

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  • Joakim
    Jul 9, 2011 - 4:32PM

    US govt tells lies to its public when it says that despite large sums of aid spent Pakistanis still hate america. What they dont tell is that Pakistanis dont hate america or americans but they dont like is US govt behaving EAST INDIA COMPANTY. It is their govt who is using aid to buy loyalities of corrupt politicians and generals rather than spending it on welfare of ordiniary Pakistanis. The objective behind this loyality shopping is to make Pakistan compromise on her national interests. This is what proud and patriotic people of this country dont like.

    If US govt keeps behaving like EAST INDIA COMPANY then very soon Pakistanis may have to hold a TEA PARTY of their own.

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  • Sonam Shyam
    Jul 9, 2011 - 7:41PM

    @Shuja and Joakim;
    Brave words but just google about the state of Pakistan’s economy and you will soon realize how precarious it is. Without American direct and indirect financial assistance Pakistan would default in no time and the economy will collapse creating further mayhem. Already there is widespread anarchy even in settled areas of Pakistan and just see what is happening in Karachi. Can you really afford this anti American bravado? First bring semblance of normalcy in your country then only you can stand on your feet.

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  • Usman
    Jul 9, 2011 - 8:13PM

    i agree with u both

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  • ba ha
    Jul 9, 2011 - 8:17PM

    Pakistan Government is full of Hustlers [like the ones at stop lights on roads]. They specialize in handling US customers effectively. Looks like they won again and we the People got stuck with the debt as usual.

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  • Cautious
    Jul 9, 2011 - 8:20PM

    The Republican’s are maneuvering Obama and the Democrats into a position where they will be seen as defending Pakistan — then they will use Pakistan as a lever against Obama during the next election. If Pakistan becomes an election issue that will create problems because Pakistan doesn’t get much press in the USA and if the more the American public knows about Pakistan the more they are going to question why anyone would think that Pakistan is an ally. Further — if using Pakistan as a lever gains traction you can expect that some of the nasty info about Pakistan’s political/military leadership starts to get “leaked” – creating further problems.

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  • Aftab Iqbal
    Jul 9, 2011 - 11:28PM

    I am happy US stop aid to Pakistan, because its never go to poor Pakistanis, its some kind of bribe to Pakistani corrupt Leaders, whom American use them for their wish, it does not effect any way to 99.9% Pakistanis Life, US management have always cheated Pakistan if you go back to history, hope everybody understand.

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  • Muhammad
    Jul 10, 2011 - 3:48AM

    @Sonam Shyam
    you are absolutely right.

    I will just say to the people of my nation to pay taxes and improve themselves before expecting a better government. Just looking at the tax leakage in Pakistan will make you realize how much people love their country. You cannot just take everything from the country, you need to give the country back which is clearly not the case when we talk about Pakistan. Keeping in mind Pakistan gets all the aid that is promised, stopping aid immediately is not pragmatic but improving exponentially in a short time just by putting effort will make the nation one day independent. Just to let you know just like a self -esteemed person I am not a big fan of aid and support

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  • F Robinson
    Jul 10, 2011 - 6:59AM

    Pakistan has a long history of being deceptive and harboring terrorists, yet we hand them money. Pakistan is an alphabet soup of Government sponsored militant organizations subscribing to the late al-Qaeda leader’s violent ideology. Our country is suffering a huge deficit, massive unemployment while Pakistan enjoys our money??? How is this okay with us?

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  • Mirza
    Jul 10, 2011 - 11:51AM

    @Usman:
    @Aftab Iqbal:
    To all the opponents of US aid, this is military aid and it would never reach to poor people. It never did before either. If we do not want to accept it, fine. Just tell them thanks but no thanks. Nobody gives aid to another by force. One offers the other accepts, it is give and take. However, the taker has to follow the conditions of the giver!
    I am a patriotic Pakistani but I feel ashamed when Pakistanis have the attitude and expectations of more and more. In fact they talk about if not the US then our friend China would take care of us. We are over 60 years old, why would we expect anybody to take care of us? We wait for somebody come from the top and change our fate, while we do not want to improve ourselves. Nobody would come and make us not put water in milk, fake baby formula, fake drugs, parading women naked in the streets, acid throwing, and bribes at all levels, multiple acts of treason, trampling the laws and constitution, etc. These social evils have become fabric of our society and only we the common people can change that. Nobody from the top would descend with a magic lamp and change our habits. When would we as grownups take responsibility of our actions and not blame the others?

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  • Jul 10, 2011 - 1:12PM

    I agree with Aftab iqbal,Joakim and Shuja.
    These are the voices of patriot pakistanies.
    “Es rizq se mauth achi,
    Jis rizp se aati ho,parwaz main koutahi”
    Long Live Pakistan

    Recommend

  • Jul 10, 2011 - 1:12PM

    I agree with Aftab iqbal,Joakim and Shuja.
    These are the voices of patriot pakistanies.
    “Es rizq se mauth achi,
    Jis rizq se aati ho,parwaz main koutahi”
    Long Live Pakistan

    Recommend

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