US-Pakistan partnership

Published: September 11, 2016
The writer is director of USAID Pakistan Mission

The writer is director of USAID Pakistan Mission

This autumn marks one year since I arrived in Pakistan. These 12 months have shown me the tremendous potential of this country and its citizens. Pakistan, like my own country, is a nation born from a vision. As Pakistan’s founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah said during his inaugural radio address, this vision imagined a vibrant nation ready to make its “full contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world”. In 1947, my country’s leadership saw the same potential in Pakistan as I see today. The path to peace and prosperity has not been easy or linear; nevertheless, a great deal of progress has been made. In order to fully realise the goals outlined by Pakistan’s first leader, we must not look towards the future alone. We should also look to the past to learn from our actions, build on our successes and overcome our setbacks. Seven years ago this month, the historic Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act was signed into law by President Obama. Under this law, dubbed the KLB Act, after its authors Senators Kerry and Lugar and Representative Berman, the US government invested almost $6 billion in Pakistan from 2010 to 2014. It is now two years since the expiration of KLB, which officially ended on September 30, 2014. We need to reflect on the accomplishments, challenges and the overall benefits to Pakistan achieved during this time. It is time to look back on our past to learn from our actions and build on our successes.

It is important to first point out that KLB was neither the beginning nor is it the end of US government development assistance to Pakistan. The US and Pakistan have been working together for more than 60 years. To be sure, it has been a rocky road and there have been many peaks and valleys in the amount of foreign assistance as political possibilities and constraints have shifted within each of our countries over the years. As with earlier peaks, KLB marked an important moment for our two countries. In 2009, the US government believed Pakistan faced domestic challenges that, if left unaddressed, would compromise the future of a generation of Pakistanis and pose serious threats to the stability of its neighbours. We also believed we could help the government and people of Pakistan interrupt and overcome those challenges. Despite tremendous obstacles, some of which could not have been foreseen, evidence of our shared achievements can be seen in communities throughout Pakistan.

We see this evidence growing in the fields of farmer Naheed Fatima. In 2009, her small plot of land was not enough to support a family of three. She was surviving by doing small jobs, grinding flour and stitching clothes, earning Rs100-150 from each piece. After years of struggle, her life changed when she started planting a new variety of seeds provided by USAID’s Agricultural Innovation Program. Today, she grows twice the yield of wheat on her same plot of land, with stronger, healthier plants. Across Pakistan, nearly 102,000 farmers have stories like Naheed’s. These farmers helped increase the value of Pakistan’s exports of targeted commodities by more than $44 million. Engineering graduate students Warda Mushtaq and Syeda Mehwish are also reminders of what KLB made possible. The two young women are members of a growing cadre of Pakistani academics who are tackling some of their country’s most pressing challenges. Along with 23 other students, they spent a semester learning new research techniques and confronting energy-related projects at Arizona State University as part of the US-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies project. Both Warda and Syeda have returned home with newly acquired knowledge about solar energy, which helps shape their work addressing Pakistan’s persistent energy shortfalls. More than 13,000 students like Warda and Syeda attended institutions of higher education with scholarships provided by USAID. These investments will pay dividends in the future, but KLB also responded to the pressing energy needs of the day. By 2014, the US had helped add 1,500MW to Pakistan’s national power grid – enough to supply electricity to 16 million Pakistanis.

Trucks loaded with Pakistan’s agricultural products drive on the more than 900km of roads we have helped build and repair using KLB funds. These roads are in areas particularly vulnerable to violent extremism, including the four main trade routes between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The roads have given rise to new businesses throughout the region and connected some of the most isolated communities to new markets and services. Many of Pakistan’s children who are heading back to school this fall will be sitting at desks made possible by the partnership between our two countries. In communities nationwide, USAID has helped Pakistan build or repair almost 1,000 schools, many of these in response to the 2010 flooding. During the KLB era, the Pakistan and the US learnt many lessons on how to manage development programmes in the new millennium. The US dramatically increased its staff to manage continued support to Pakistan. The US Mission has undertaken a thorough review of our assistance programme and we have gone far in terms of improving performance, designing new programmes, and working with the Pakistan government. And this partnership has continued to demonstrate important results post-KLB. Over the past two years, we have added an additional 900MW to the grid. We have built or refurbished 49 more schools and assisted more than 400,000 students to learn to read. Some 2,300 Pakistani students have received scholarships over the past two years for higher education and we have helped more than three million additional women and children receive health services. These successes build upon the achievements made possible by KLB.

Programmes funded under KLB continue even now and will for years to come, and USAID’s funding for Pakistan still remains strong. Even as funding availability fluctuates, the impact of development assistance remains steady. Projects USAID has initiated over the years have been gradually taken over by Pakistanis, whose leadership ensures long-lasting change and moves Pakistan closer to achieving its vision of peace and prosperity. 

Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2016.

Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (25)

  • OSD
    Sep 12, 2016 - 12:05AM

    All of that is all very well and we appreciate the effort. But it all comes to naught when the USA sides with India in its attempt to isolate Pakistan internationally. We know that we have made mistakes but that still doesn’t warrant the level of hostility shown to Pakistan from the power corridors of the USA. And we both know that Pakistan alone is not responsible for these problems. While India watched quietly and tacitly supported the Soviets in Afghanistan, Pakistan stood shoulder to shoulder with the USA. Now the Americans have abandoned us and the eternally ungrateful Afghans have jumped into the lap of the Indians. And a bag of seeds just won’t do as a consolation prize!Recommend

  • Avtar
    Sep 12, 2016 - 1:43AM

    @OSD: “And a bag of seeds just won’t do as a consolation prize!” Pakistan has milked Uncle Sam to the max. More than $33B in aid since 9/11! This is not peanuts. All the while Pak hosted OBL and terrorists from Pakistan went to attack several targets in the US and the West.
    How many $ has China provided to Pak! Yet poems such as sweeter than honey and higher than mountains are being recited. This is even when China openly suppresses its Muslim and other minorities.Recommend

  • Shahid
    Sep 12, 2016 - 2:09AM

    Dar sir, It was very heartening and timely to read your article. I think so far Us diplomats have lagged behind to make public aware of, how USA has and is contributing in many different ways. These words need to be spread . Building dams and higher education are the two sectors need help most. I don’t know why some Pakistanis can not see any thing without involving India. We want to thank The people and Government of USA to extend developmental aid to Pakistan. Pakistani Nation appreciates it and Wishes Better friendship with US. We also wish and pray for a more prospers and developed USA .Long Live USA-Pakistan friendship Recommend

  • Sabi
    Sep 12, 2016 - 3:16AM

    Your excellency,thank you very much for the assitance your country is extending to us. Your country’s assistance is not our right but a privilege thats been kindly given to us. A section of media in my country is shamelessly creating confusion and hatred between our two countries we assure you we have nothing to di with that dirty game.
    We have one request to you if you can help us. That is, we have severe water shortage for irrigation purposes. If your country can help build us Bhasha diamir dams it would be a great milestone in our relationships. Looking forward to your kind reply.

    Have a nice stay in Pakistan.
    The author is director USAID, my apology.
    His portfolio is Recommend

  • Buzzkill
    Sep 12, 2016 - 3:36AM

    The guy who wrote this article is the person in charge of US aid to Pakistan. Not a high ranking official, not a senator or congressman, not even a diplomat but an aid giver. That tells a lot about US-Pakistan relationship.Recommend

  • observer
    Sep 12, 2016 - 3:42AM

    “Pakistan, like my own country, is a nation born from a vision. As Pakistan’s founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah said during his inaugural radio address, this vision imagined a vibrant nation ready to make its “full contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world”. ”

    No sir. Pakistan was not born from the same vision as the USA. Pakistan’s vision was “we can’t live with Hindus. We are a separate nation, people of different culture”. The vision was one of Muslim/Islamic exclusivism, religious bigotry and superiority.

    It appears that the author graduated from Pakistani schools and got a heavy doze distorted history.Recommend

  • Rahul
    Sep 12, 2016 - 6:11AM

    It is incredible that the author is able to ignore the realities of Pakistan and regurgitate all the homilies. Maybe the author moves in the rarified circles of Islamabad where the think tanks spend their days dissecting Jinnah’s 11 August 1947 speech and that is his sole contact with Pakistan.Recommend

  • None the wiser
    Sep 12, 2016 - 6:12AM

    @Avtar: man don’t believe everything Modi tells you. It would be good if you could take an intelligent view of the world for once. Pakistan has suffered much higher losses than the $33 billion aid it received to support counter terrorism efforts, and the presence of OBL and other terrorists doesn’t mean Pakistan as a state helped them. By that logic, perhaps the Indian government is responsible for unleashing organised crime on to its citizens or the corruption is a part of the Indian constitution? But what is certain is that Dalits in India are beaten by mobs for skinning dead cows or drinking water from Hindu temples, and Muslims are killed for suspicion of beef. All of this is the policy of the Indian government. However, Pakistan is moving on and our friendship with China is providing us what the USA never did: trade and investment instead of aid. That is something you can not or will not understand.Recommend

  • IndianDude
    Sep 12, 2016 - 7:58AM

    ..Pakistan, like my own country, is a nation born from a vision…

    It is true that both countries were born from a vision, vision on founding fathers of USA was farsighted the other myopic.Recommend

  • Zarrak
    Sep 12, 2016 - 9:17AM

    Sir your work is praiseworthy but still there are some districts in Balochistan which’s people in living below the poverty line and our district Dera Bugti as well. Here are we need educational institute . you know without education is not possible to prosperity and development. Alif Alaan release the Education rank districts as well as provinces. dera bugti was one of them worst contion as well as last rank which was 144.thanksRecommend

  • Nand Kishore Kumar
    Sep 12, 2016 - 10:36AM

    Really,Pakistan is a nation born from a vision .But ,it could not imbibe the image of America .To become a US partner in world peace and prosperity,it need open free trade route between India and Afghanistan and beyond . American is anxious of seeing South Asia as peaceful and prosperous as China and Russia . Pakistan has the potential and will to translate the vision of it’s founding fathers in reality . May Pakistan -AMERICA partnership get the blessings of God .Recommend

  • Parvez
    Sep 12, 2016 - 1:46PM

    The U.S is generous in its giving …..if should be responsible as well because the giver has the power to ensure that what is given reaches the people but the people do not see this happening. Recommend

  • Nehar Umerzai
    Sep 12, 2016 - 11:17PM

    As you so,So shall you reap.Recommend

  • FAZ
    Sep 13, 2016 - 7:25AM

    @Nehar Umerzai:
    We were certainly not alone in sowing itRecommend

  • muhammad
    Sep 13, 2016 - 8:28AM

    Pakistan is no Japan nor Germany. USAID remains a dubious organization. It does some good work, but how bad we cant really quantify as it remains secrectiveRecommend

  • Malik Achakzai
    Sep 13, 2016 - 8:53AM

    Thank you for funding Quetta Chaman Hiway completion, loved going through it yesterday and having a calm journey USAID Pakistan hope your funds will go for more productive projects in particularly to development projects that would remain sustainable in the future too. Recommend

  • Truth
    Sep 13, 2016 - 2:33PM

    Just wanted to add:
    • India used to be a Soviet/Russian ally and had provided much support to them – when Afghanistan was being destroyed. Pakistan was on USA’s side, stood shoulder to shoulder. Why is it that Afghanistan and USA forget facts – do you know India still has strong ties with such countries even today. Pushing Pakistan aside won’t be good – once lost forget about ever claiming friendship.

    • India was the first country to detonate a Nuclear bomb and the main culprit to introducing Nuclear arms race in South Asia – including threatening Pakistan and forcing this peaceful nation into developing such a horrible weapon for defense and only defense.

    • Indians have no Abrahamic religion, their theory of world and religious dogma is entirely different – similarly to a person who has autism or is an alcoholic sci-fi novelist.

    • The only reason you’re seeing Billionaires from India is due to the large population – have a look at China too. Both have more people, hence more Billionaires.

    • Which country is the epicenter of Global warming? India. Have a look at satellite system heat-map. Reason? Population, Constant industrial exhausts and number of vehicles owned.

    • Crimes against women in India occur far more regularly than in any other country – they’ll claim it’s due to the population, while it’s obviously true that Indians lack ethics and morality of any kind.

    • Indians are primary culprits in Hacking related issues, internet frauds. Their sole-purpose for learning is to entirely use that skill for destructive means – but Pakistanis would rather use their skills for saving and improving lives.

    • India is a hub of underworld activity, the corruption and scandals are listed in news reports and many other media for proof. India is filled with fraud and corrupt people, including caste system discrimination, high religious extremism and acts of illicitly, vulgarity and abuse on women.

    • Indians aren’t smart. They’re just overpopulated like cockroaches or ants, what’s sad is people forget these cancerous breeds are everywhere around the world they have no talent, they just have a high population which churns out smarter people a lot faster than countries with little populations and their smell of curry is nauseating.

    • Indians have a huge list of women abuse, where’s human rights activists when it comes to Indian related issues? Such as a women who’s husband died cannot marry anyone (as per their religion).

    • Indians have Dravidian DNA – these guys are making babies like there’s no tomorrow, while Pakistanis have Aryan DNA. Therefore, you get the gist of it.Recommend

  • Anonymous Indian
    Sep 13, 2016 - 8:43PM

    @Truth. Good one dude, must be the beef in you.Recommend

  • Avtar
    Sep 15, 2016 - 3:14AM

    @None the wiser:
    I do not listen to Modi nor have I lived in India for the past 50 years. The main point is that is one should be grateful for the aid. With about $10B in aid South Korea has become an industrial giant in niche sectors. You should ask your politicos and the deep state where has all the money gone.Recommend

  • Komal S
    Sep 15, 2016 - 9:05AM

    I can’t believe Tribune will let somebody write a trash like this. On second thought it exposes the mentality.Recommend

  • Ahmed Ali khan
    Sep 15, 2016 - 9:06AM

    @,Avatar, 33B if it’s the right figure are just peanuts compare to what service we provided to USA. Plus a loss to Pakistan economy of million billions of rupees. If they used other route it would cost many folds of transportation but free access from Karachi to Afghanistan they would have more than 33billions. The devastation to our roads is another loss.Recommend

  • Ahmed Ali khan
    Sep 15, 2016 - 9:16AM

    @Zarraks, you complain to your sardars who does not want educational institutions. If people got educated then who will obey their Sardars.Recommend

  • Ahmed Ali khan
    Sep 15, 2016 - 9:19AM

    @Nand Kishore Kumar:
    Once India give freedom to Kashmiris than we will the India Afghanistan free trade route.Recommend

  • Anon
    Sep 15, 2016 - 4:52PM

    Well it appears Tribune has a lot more Indian followers than Pakistani ones!Recommend

  • Qaisar Rashid
    Sep 15, 2016 - 10:31PM

    The writer gave basically an overview of the financial and material contribution of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Bill of 2009/2010. The bill was much criticized in Pakistan because of its having certain political conditions to be fulfilled by Pakistan. Against the background of 9/11, it was a great success of John Kerry to get the bill passed and let money flow into Pakistan’s economy through non-governmental modes. The contribution of the Bill my help both Pakistan and US weigh the pros and cons of any such Bill in future.Recommend

More in Opinion