Pakistan received US $688 million on Friday under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), as reimbursement for the expenses of supporting over 150,000 coalition forces deployed on Pak-Afghan border.
Minister of State for Finance and Senator Saleem H Mandviwala confirmed the release of funds, along with spokespersons of the State Bank of Pakistan and the foreign office.
“After the Pentagon’s notification to the US Congress, it was quite obvious that the US would soon release the CSF amount to reimburse Pakistan’s expenses incurred during the war on terror… on Friday the amount has been received by our side,” a source in the foreign office said.
In August 2012, Pakistan had received $1.12 billion from the US under the fund. Sixty per cent of the fund is apportioned to the Pakistan Army while the remaining amount is used to meet the fiscal deficit of the economy.
According to an official source, Pakistan was under immense pressure as a result of its balance of payments schedule, and that the $688 million would help relieve the balance of payments position.
The US Deputy Defence Secretary Ashton Carter had notified Congress of the US Department of Defence’s decision in a letter on December 6. Seeking approval for the case, Carter had written in the letter that “In making this determination, I find that the reimbursement is consistent with the national security interest of the United States and will not adversely affect the balance of power in the region.”
The Defence Department’s spokesperson, George Little, also remarked that “This is a concrete illustration that our security relations with Pakistan are indeed moving forward.”
The US Senate and the House of Representatives, in a conference on the National Defence Authorisation Act for the fiscal year 2013, authorised $1.65 billion for the Coalition Support Fund to reimburse cooperating nations supporting the effort in Afghanistan.
At the same time, it “limits the availability of such funds to reimburse Pakistan until the secretary of defence certifies that Pakistan meets certain criteria, including securing the lines of supply through Pakistan to Afghanistan, disrupting cross-border attacks into Afghanistan, and countering the threat from improvised explosive devices,” the Senate Armed Services Committee said in a statement.
The secretary of defence may waive these certification requirements if it is in the interest of US national security interests, the statement added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2012.