Key US senators urge review of Pakistan funding

By AFP
Published: December 6, 2011

'US incredibly patient with Pakistan, despite certain undeniable and deeply disturbing facts,' the senators say. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

WASHINGTON: The United States must “fully review” its ties with Pakistan and consider cuts or new restrictions to military and economic aid, Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham urged Monday.

A joint statement from the veteran American politicians conveyed the depth of feeling felt by many of their contemporaries in Washington about the need to re-evaluate a decade-long strategic relationship that has foundered this year.

“The United States has been incredibly patient with Pakistan. And we have been so despite certain undeniable and deeply disturbing facts,” they said.

“The time has come for the United States to fully review its relations with Pakistan. We must assess the nature and levels of our support.”

McCain serves as the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, while Graham is a member of that panel and is the top Republican on the committee that allocates US foreign aid.

“All options regarding US security and economic assistance to Pakistan must be on the table, including substantial reductions and stricter standards for performance,” they said.

The senators then cited alleged support from Pakistani army and intelligence officials for the Haqqani network “and other terrorist groups” blamed for attacks on US targets in Afghanistan “that are killing US troops.”

Such actions require that “US policy toward Pakistan must proceed from the realistic understanding that certain actions of Pakistan’s military are contributing to the death and injury of our men and women in the military and jeopardizing our national security interests,” said the senators.

Ties between Washington and Islamabad plummeted after a US commando raid killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad, just two hours drive north of the capital Islamabad, in May.

Relations slid to a new low last month when Nato air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border, prompting Pakistan to boycott the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan’s future.

Islamabad officials have also refused to cooperate in a US investigation into the November 26 incident. President Barack Obama offered condolences and assured the Pakistanis that their troops were not deliberately attacked.

McCain and Graham also offered their “deep condolences” over those killed in what they called an “unfortunate and unintentional” strike and predicted the investigation would “clarify the circumstances of this terrible tragedy.”

“The Pakistani government’s response to these events, however, has been deeply troubling and has added to the continued deterioration of our relationship,” they added.

They were referring to Pakistan’s decision to prevent Nato supplies from reaching Afghanistan, ordering US intelligence officers to leave the country, and boycotting the Bonn conference, and reports that Islamabad may have decided to suspend all bilateral counter-terrorism agreements.

“Such steps by the Pakistani government would mark a new low for our relationship,” they warned.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer who led an interagency review of US policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan in early 2009, on Monday said the United States should give greater weight to containing the Pakistani army.

Speaking at a panel discussion in the US capital, he said that for now, Washington was “not doing enough on the containment part. We’re slipping and sliding into it, but I think without a coherent framework.”

According to Riedel, the Pakistani army is gradually installing a new military dictatorship, without even needing to resort to a coup.

“The new military dictatorship that is emerging in Pakistan will be very different from its predecessors,” he said.

“The facade of civilian government is likely to continue to go on… with very little real power. The media will continue to be very active and alive, except when they criticize the military.”

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Reader Comments (58)

  • fahim
    Dec 6, 2011 - 10:07AM

    very good assessment.. we are a bunch of dishonest taking foreign taxpayers hard earned money to fight a monster created by no one else but us. Instead of cleaning our house, we encourage violence and then beg around world to solve our created issues.

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  • Rehmat Ullah Kundi
    Dec 6, 2011 - 10:16AM

    I think McCain and Graham are doing a big favour to Pakistan by cutting the funds that mostly end in Pockets of corrupt politicians and establishment. One of the main reason for instability and corruption in Pakistan are the funds that US gives to Pakistan to advance its unreasonable and selfish agenda. The US officials know quite well that these funds will ultimately go to pockets of corrupt Pakistan officials and politicians who play a major role in facilitating US achieve its dirty aims.

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  • Harish Maru
    Dec 6, 2011 - 10:31AM

    Pakistan has no choice but to have policy of ‘Hunting with hound and running with the hare’ because of political and religious imperatives.

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  • Malik
    Dec 6, 2011 - 10:49AM

    key Pakistanis urge blockage of supply line permanently

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  • antanu
    Dec 6, 2011 - 10:51AM

    Well it will be boon in disguise for Pakistan…at least they will learn to stand up on its feet by using available resources. Do it gentlemen…and Pakistan will progress disbelievingly.

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  • vasan
    Dec 6, 2011 - 10:52AM

    I think it will be very good move, from Pakistani point of view, to completely stop the aid , civil or military, Instead increase the trade, They should teach them how to fish, instead of eating fish from the feeding hand.

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  • Qasim
    Dec 6, 2011 - 10:59AM

    @Harish Maru:
    Simiarly US is also caught between a rock and a hard place. No progress is possible without Pakistan’s assistance. Big question, who will blink first.

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  • Dec 6, 2011 - 11:01AM

    When everything else fails, blackmail.

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  • naeem hussain
    Dec 6, 2011 - 11:28AM

    Pakistani people will be thankful with whole depth of their heart if America impose sanctions on Pakistan and stop giving “aid” to Pakistan.

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  • Amjad
    Dec 6, 2011 - 11:30AM

    @fahim: I like the sarcasm man! Yeah like we like taking so much money which is not enough to do the job! Pakistan gets a pittance when 100s of billions are spent on the war for Western tropps but more Pakistani troops have died than any other nation in the war on terror. Why should Pakistan complain since it’s not the job of Pakistan. The West abandoned the region after they used Pakistan like a tissue the last time. After all the West used Pakistan to defeat the Soviets and brought in all manner of foreign fighter. Pakistan was destabilized and the nation lost 100s of billions which is nothing compared to the paltry aid that was given. I think Pakistan should say no to aid and just take care of its own borders. The last time Pakistan had aid cut off, they learned to put the country in order somewhat and developed self reliance. It will be the same again so it’s better for the nation to say , “adieu” and just seal the border with Afghanistan because it is tired of all the criminals and refugees coming from there.

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  • Nasir
    Dec 6, 2011 - 11:58AM

    We are a broken down nation … but Allah has kept us alive using a few good men. I hope and pray that these men rise and take control … and I would be a very proud muslim and Pakistani to see Pakistan be that nation that stands up against the tyranny and war spread by the US and Israel … if they will not let us live in peace then we should fight for it …

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  • Lone Star
    Dec 6, 2011 - 11:58AM

    Pakistan has no back up plan, it will default. Is nation ready to take the burden…ummmm no. All of those guys holding rallies against USA and other European countries will hold further rallies against new taxes and load shedding etc. etc.

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  • on to pmln
    Dec 6, 2011 - 12:23PM

    every other week a different face from the US senate (all of whom are ‘key’ senators) comes out and says Pakistan needs to be spanked. Its getting amusing :)

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  • Muslim
    Dec 6, 2011 - 12:25PM

    We would be highly indebted if the US stops the aid. The positives would be, we would get rid of our corrupt politians who have been imposed on us by the West & who in turn loot billions & billions of dollars just to get peanuts in return!! The US aid has been a curse for us in the 80′s and now since 9/11.

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  • Guddu
    Dec 6, 2011 - 12:32PM

    Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.

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  • Straight_Talk
    Dec 6, 2011 - 1:00PM

    Pakistani public opinion is anti-US for some time now. Presently we are seeing a anti-Pakistan public opinion developing in US. US public opinion about Pakistan is graduating from being disturbing to difficult. Such statements by the opposition senators there suggests that Americans are getting fed up and are looking in terms of punishing Pakistan. Further we are going to have elections in the US very soon. With US-Pak relations sliding as rapidly as they are Pakistan bashing can really emerge as a prime election activity in the near future in USA. The Republicans will have a real opportunity of converting the general hate towards muslims in USA into a ” Punish Pakistan ” campaign. Such a campaign can have a larger mass appeal than the usual promise of economic recovery about which the US voters are already somewhat heart broken. A promise of a hard policy towards Pakistan can emerge as a potential game changer for the Republicans specially if Obama administration presents a soft face on Pakistan now.

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  • genious
    Dec 6, 2011 - 1:13PM

    lolz thats great ok do more policy ended up in immense failure and now blackmailing started any one ask America who has created these networks second we don’t need ur support although our leaders need that to fill up their Swiss accounts its amazing that Russia give support to India in the form technology and America give support to pak in the form of money even though confined to bunch of people those have no concern with development of Pakistan, their development is more important than country development we as people of pak fed up of the war against terror. please not for us for your own people end this war.i am amazed that countries in NATO are responsible one but why they are ruining their economy by indulging into a one sided so called war against terrorism. please take out your feet from these shoes.

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  • Dec 6, 2011 - 1:17PM

    No senator’s we pakistani’s would be very glad if u don’t give us aidRecommend

  • Dec 6, 2011 - 1:20PM

    It is good move.

    Economic aid coming from USA never trickles down to poor masses – so it is not needed.

    Military Aid – is in fact reimbursement of Pak Army expenditure on War on Terror. Pak Army first spend from own pocket and then send a bill to PENTAGON. If USA do not want to pay the bill, they must not expect Pak Army to spend money on Western Border.

    There is need to bring the manning level of Pak Army at Pak-Agfhan border AT PAR with ISAAF and ANA strength and number of posts.

    Why are we, Pakistanis, are spending too much for those who do not care for us?……….

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Dec 6, 2011 - 1:36PM

    The Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani has already said that he does not need any military aid from the US.

    After US/NATO air attack on Mohmad Agency check post in which 24 army personnel were killed, I do not think that politically elected civilian government would need any more financial aid from the US.

    Pakistan is not going to take any more pressure from the US and we have to define our own rules as how to maintain diplomatic and bilateral relations with the US and up to what extent.

    Despite all odds, Pakistan would be maintaining relations with US but at what terms, it entirely depends on the decision of our government.

    We are waiting for the speech of our President in the joint parliament which is likely to take place in a day or two.

    Let every one should be clear in his mind that Pakistan is not the same country any more after US/NATO air attack on Mohmand Agency.

    If US want to maintain relations with Pakistan on the basis of equality, it is fine. And please do not think that either we are Afghanistan, or Iraq.

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  • antanu
    Dec 6, 2011 - 1:40PM

    @fahim:
    Dont you read between the lines Mr.FAHIM (a fake name ofcourse)? Stop this bias towards Pakistan…if it burns so will our country (India…and you are also an India).

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  • Dec 6, 2011 - 1:49PM

    Indians u have no business here, ur commenting here shows who is obsessed by who

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  • Raj
    Dec 6, 2011 - 1:54PM

    @Amjad:
    Which 100s of billion did Pakistan loose ??? After all its not the case that Pakistan is any kind of economic powerhouse, that it really can stake that claim !!!! First provide basic serbices to its people, before getting carried away with illusions !!
    In regards to sealing the border ! Well you have had couple of decades to do it , so why make noises now???
    Have really considered the actual logistics of trying to seal the border and have you taken into consideration the Tribal people who simply do not recognise any borders in the region?
    All this bravado is rather lame as you surely know the ground reality within Pakistan too well .

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  • Fahad Raza
    Dec 6, 2011 - 2:19PM

    What the use of taxing your middle class and giving it to elites in other country. We don’t want it. We want trade not aid

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  • Ejaz
    Dec 6, 2011 - 2:21PM

    @fahim:
    Stand correct; this monster was created by the US and it’s Western cronies to break up Soviet Union. Pakistan was part of that group in grooming these monsters and now Pakistan is paying the worst price whilst US and other cronies are not affected at all.Pakistan is lumbered up with 6 Million Afghanis and bearing the brunt of these Afghanis.

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  • Ejaz
    Dec 6, 2011 - 2:26PM

    @Lone Star:
    Pakistan is not a limited company which will default. Countries keep functioning regardless.

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  • Fareedi
    Dec 6, 2011 - 2:32PM

    Oh…… please by all means do act…. throw us out of this wretched war of terror… get your own people killed in your war.

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  • Parvez
    Dec 6, 2011 - 2:34PM

    The Republicians are presently not in power as such thay can say what ever they wish, especially in an election year.

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  • k. Salim Jahangir
    Dec 6, 2011 - 2:41PM

    It is excruciatingly painful,but the facts are quite the opposite: *To begin with this was not our war,one should gallantly admit that because of our stupidities,we fell into US trap & the centre of gravity of so called war on terror was very smartly shifted to Pakistan. *In the process our economy has shattered,our total financial losses are to the tune of US$ 70 billion.Who is going to compensate? Our stupidity has cost us dearly….US has used us to our disadvantage. *Much more than US & NATO forces together,we have lost 40 thousand precious lives.Many thousand families are suffering & we are left with no means to look after them. *US & NATO are using our skies,roads without paying a single nickel .Our infrastructure has been torn into smithereens,who is going to foot the bill,will US pick up the tab? *NATO & The US are paying us measly Rupees 470 (US$ 5) per 60 ton container for off loading & reloading at our Karachi dockyard.What would they pay for such services provided in the US or Europe.Are we children of lesser god.We have been fleeced left right & centre,yet we are being scolded by you. *We have been time & again telling you that you will use & leave us high & dry like before.All US delegations visiting Pakistan assured us that it would not be repeated,yet you are hell bent doing it. *Please leave us alone we will overcome these shocks in due course of time.We have learnt very bitter lessons. K.Salim Jahangir

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  • Trick-or-Treat
    Dec 6, 2011 - 3:05PM

    “Disturbing” is a word that rolls off the tongue rather easily when Pakistan is under discussion. If there was a way to ship Pakistan off to interior China, the world would have done it.

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  • Nand
    Dec 6, 2011 - 3:20PM

    Pakistani’s understanding is that the USA and the West is holding a gun on the heads of the Govt. and the establishment to take aid. What stops them from accepting it? Why are they not listening to its citizens? Before blaming others, see within yourselves and correct it.

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  • Raj
    Dec 6, 2011 - 4:30PM

    @Trick-or-Treat:
    Whay makes you think, that the chinese would want you in their interior??
    Have you asked them????
    The answer is well known to everyone with basic commonsense !!!

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  • Cosmo
    Dec 6, 2011 - 4:48PM

    @Amjad: just one question, did anybody point a gun to your head to join the afgan war? Pakistan by its own choice and out of greed for dollars joined the afgan jihad and so later paid price. Why blame us or anyone else. Its all karma.

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  • Truth Teller
    Dec 6, 2011 - 4:54PM

    Stop the military aid right away & continue with civilian aid through US Aid programs & NGOs!

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  • Shahid
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:18PM

    Absolutely correct. Lindsey and John are right. The whole package must be rewritten. No “aid” or is it AID?.. military or economic without restrictions and strict terms. Also, Pakistan should not do anything for free. Top dollars to be paid in “advance” in full for each line item works executed, done and dusted. No credit and no freebies by Pakistan for US. Good, this will keep accounting processin correct mode and nobody in US will think they are paying for services not done. No payment, no services. Stop all facilities and manpower induction. Let US solve thier own problems in Afghanistan. As far as Republicans are concerned, they will learn soon and in quick time once their toops dont even have tiolet paper. Wait and you all will see both of them will come running to Pakistan seeking help for US troops. Just in a few months and you will see. Only thing is if the present corrupt bunch is in power, then maybe Pakistan will suffer setbacks. Need to get rid of the virus and septic bacteria. Operation cleanup needs to be activated. Recommend

  • Raj
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:26PM

    Pakistan is always right, seriously !!!

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  • Menon
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:32PM

    @Nasir:

    Indeed, you should really thank the Allah’s and Mullah’s for keeping you in life support.

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  • Menon
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:34PM

    @on to pmln:

    It will be even more amusing to you when the spanking actually starts. Enjoy!

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:46PM

    @Khalid Masood:

    It is not only re-imbursement. There is military hardware as well.

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  • Khan
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:47PM

    People with short term memory, this who war thing might be tactic for you Mr. Senator but 40,00 lives lost in last 10 years and over 100,000 lost in last 30 year WE are the People who have to face all this,

    OK, Let me put you a scenario, What if China decides to invade some of your key Muslim alloy , Wont you pay to fund these ppl again to fight, as you did in 1970′s n 1980′s. STOP all aid, Pack your bags ,GO HOME n leave us alone. People are seriously SICK of this carrot n stick policy and it is back firing BIG TIME.

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  • k. Salim Jahangir
    Dec 6, 2011 - 6:00PM

    @ Nand…………..No one has put a gun on our temples that we accept their Aid.Now is the time that our rulers stop this crap…..we do not require any body’s aid,after all we survived when sanctions were imposed on us,yet we not only survived honorably,but also made our Atom Bomb & our Missile program remained on track.Let there be no misunderstanding ,we are a nation of hard working,brave and valiant people.We are proud Pakistanis & Pakistan came on the map of world to stay for ever!!! Americans Senators have shown their true colors. Thankless as they are.Recommend

  • Ejaz
    Dec 6, 2011 - 6:12PM

    @Trick-or-Treat:
    It will be a big favour to humanity (7 billions) if the States of America (USA) is shipped off of this planet pal. The 70% problems and misries on this earth are caused by the Government of Amercia and it’s cronies.Recommend

  • Imran Mohammad
    Dec 6, 2011 - 6:18PM

    Why is it a news? Why ET has to make a headline out of it? What is new? Please

    STOP WASTING BANDWIDTH and everyone’s time.

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  • Truth Teller
    Dec 6, 2011 - 6:26PM

    We are proud & honorable people! Mullah Maskeen

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  • SM
    Dec 6, 2011 - 6:32PM

    We do not need any American funds… its the sell-out traitors who run Pakistan that need US aid.

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  • LOK
    Dec 6, 2011 - 7:54PM

    Keep the aid, u will need it for yourself soon. NATO supply lines are not opening from Pakistan end, ur ego will keep u in the war. Next month’s bill is about to arrive and will look a wee bit different.

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  • Mirza
    Dec 6, 2011 - 8:04PM

    Only the economic aid to create jobs, education and healthcare for the civilians in the form of goods not cash with strict oversight.
    Pakistan is a very rich country to have hundreds of nuclear weapons and expensive war toys. They have to start spending some of that money for public welfare for a change. People of Pakistan have to decide what do they want a rich and powerful army or education, healthcare, power, food, etc.? Recommend

  • Pakman
    Dec 6, 2011 - 8:32PM

    Take that aid and shove it

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  • Jadugar
    Dec 6, 2011 - 8:46PM

    Ten years on and stil the American and Pakistanis have yet to establish a strong and trust worthy relationship between them, Pakistan is not the only guilty party in this trust deficet friendship, The demand by US in return for its Financial aid has a heavy price for Pakistan to pay and somtimes it cannot afford to. Time has come for Pakistan to decide and take a direction, where its self intrest and its priority should be supreme, Now is the time. If the relationship hasnt worked in last ten years it probably will never work. Pakistan leaders of all institution must now think of Pakistan first move on with or without…………..

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  • shahid
    Dec 6, 2011 - 9:01PM

    Cut all military aid to Pakistan but give them mor concessions in trade and increase aid for social projects.Recommend

  • Raj
    Dec 6, 2011 - 9:06PM

    @LOK:
    When someone has spent in region of 120 billion on this very flawed project, rest assure its unlikely to have much impact financially ! May be logistics wise perhaps !!!

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  • HARRY STONE
    Dec 6, 2011 - 9:54PM

    There is not enough aid to change PAK from being a failed nation. So the question is why continue

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  • R S JOHAR
    Dec 6, 2011 - 10:00PM

    Pakistan has to ultimately pay a heavy price for adopting dual policy with US for the past one decade. Restrictions on American aid would further weaken the economy which is already in a parlous state with a dismal growth rate at about 3 percent and 12 percent inflation. In addition, people of Pakistan are burdened with power cuts, price rise, gas shortage, unemployment and poor governance. Unless the major establishments sit together and formulate a workable plan to get out of this turbulance, Pakistan faces a uncertain future.

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  • Usman
    Dec 6, 2011 - 10:19PM

    Cut your all money to Pakistan… Pakistani people would reply with thank you….No so called aid, No interference and No undercover agents….

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  • Tony C.
    Dec 6, 2011 - 11:29PM

    I will not discuss the so called patience or generosity of America, but perhaps it would be as well to think of key financial aspects which Pakistan is generously providing for the U.S./NATO war effort. As Salim pointed out unloading of shipping containers does not come cheaply, but Pakistan is virtually unloading them at the docks for nothing. Use of a container, with various charges, can cost in excess of 10,000 dollars, plus insurance. I wonder what part of the $10.000 Pakistan is receiving? Additionally, U.S./NATO forces are probably receiving the use of Pakistan’s infrastructure for free. I do not know what Pakistan charges U.S./NATO forces for use of its roads, but it should be realized that most Western countries have toll roads and they are not cheap. U.S./ NATO are using approximately 300 very heavy trucks daily so that 900 trucks are on Pakistani roads at any one time. This places a tremendously heavy load on Pakistan infrastructure, other than just road maintenance. There are additional costs such as repairing roads, fire fighting costs, and removing wreckage after a tanker has been blown up. Repairing towns and villages after U.S./NATO bombing runs, hospital costs for repairing the damaged bodies of men, women and children, financial help for the loved ones of soldiers killed by the U.S. These are just a few of the hidden items which Pakistan society are providing for the so called war on terror, and I suspect that much of it is provided to keep on the right side of Washington. To turn Senator McCain’s words back on him, America needs to keep on being patient, because they appear, from a casual look, to be doing quite well out of Pakistan.

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  • bangash
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:41AM

    Zardari himself says “Trade not aid”. Aid to Pakistan should be cut to zero and preferential trade agreement for Pakistan signed, that will take all excuses away from Pakistan and they will have to run good economic policies to do business in US markets.Recommend

  • MarkH
    Dec 7, 2011 - 7:31AM

    @Fareedi:
    That’s not what it means. It means you’re just going to die without any compensation, perks or anything positive that could be a gain anywhere. Keep turning your back to the concept that you’re not a victim but instead someone who will be fighting this war with or without the US. You’re just making it easier for the militants to put a bullet in that back and those conditions are their preference as well.

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  • Phannay Khan
    Dec 7, 2011 - 3:41PM

    @MarkH:
    If your argument is so correct then tell me whats going on financially in the USA itself? OWS? 14 Trillion debt crisis? Downgrading of Credit rating? Printing Money to support wars ? Pension funds disappeared? Before talking about the rest of the world as GOD, one has to look at ownself. And the reality is the picture is quite bleak financially. Is not it This reason that US is invading rest of the world to gain from it financially? Unfortunately, It hasn’t worked well either for it.

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