Pakistan does not wish to be aid-dependent: Haqqani

Published: June 2, 2011
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Pakistan's ambassador to US emphasises on keeping aid separate from internal politics. PHOTO: FILE

Pakistan's ambassador to US emphasises on keeping aid separate from internal politics. PHOTO: FILE

WASHINGTON: Pakistan has no desire to depend on foreign assistance forever but seeks greater trade for its sustainable development, and US providing easy access for the country’s products would both spur economic progress and serve common security interests, Islamabad’s envoy to the United States said.

Ambassador Hussain Haqqani also asked Pakistan’s critics not to confine their discourse to aid results but view the important US-Pakistan relationship in a holistic perspective.

“If the United States opens its market for Pakistan more, it would be a much better way of helping Pakistan,” Haqqani stated, explaining that job creation through greater economic activity would foil extremists’ designs to exploit the unemployed youth.

US assistance should be seen part of a broader partnership, he argued, addressing a gathering of experts at the launch of a report “Beyond Bullets and Bombs: Fixing the US Approach to Development in Pakistan” which was released by Center for Global Development on Wednesday. He said change in Pakistan will come from within.

The Pakistani diplomat noted that an aid-centered approach creates political problems. “The role of aid should be that of catalyst for us to accomplish that change on our own. Aid it is not going to be the main basis on which Pakistan will find prosperity, our prosperity will come from Pakistanis unleashing their potential in trade, opening up of Pakistan to investment and making it possible for our neighboring countries to trade with us,” he remarked.

Pakistan, Haqqani said, appreciates the US assistance and understands that the American taxpayers should know about transparency and accountability in its use but took issue with the notion that each there is an issue between the two nations; the knee-jerk reaction on the Capitol Hill should be threats to cut off aid.

“Pakistan is a nation of 180 million people, it has a lot of diversity and there are problems too. Discussion on Pakistan-US relations should not be aid-centered but on partnership.”

Haqqani welcomed the recommendation that development assistance should be separated from security issues.

“There is no begging bowl. Pakistan and the United States are partners, trying to help each other.”

The ambassador also asked critics to resist the short-sighted tendency to measure outcome of aid in a simplistic manner, by judging results from just a short period. Assistance yields full results upon completion of projects, which is a multi-year process, he pointed out.

In this respect, the ambassador cited the example of a popular Pakistani orange and said its seeds were first provided by the United States way back and now it is a successful fruit of partnership that provided unconditional aid without any noise.

Similarly, he added, US assistance helped establish some of the very successful institutions of higher learning like Lahore University of Management Sciences and Karachi’s Institute of Business Administration.

He said Pakistan should determine its development priorities and also told the gathering that non-governmental organizations cannot supplant the government in any country.

“Pakistan does not wish to be an aid-dependant country. At the same time, we do not want the aid to be the focus of our partnership. Pakistan and the United States are working hand in hand to plan US assistance program.”

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Hedgefunder
    Jun 2, 2011 - 1:48PM

    So how else is Pakistan going to survive over period of next few years???
    Without Aid?
    It will take an decade for any economic model to work and show results and growth, and that is on basis that such policies have been implemented first, which is Pakistan’s case is far cry and very tall order!!!!Recommend

  • Kaism
    Jun 2, 2011 - 3:28PM

    Initially begging for US Aid. Now begging for US Trade. When will we stop begging and say the World to trade with us based on Superiority of Goods or Services? dose not sounds good.Recommend

  • Mustafa
    Jun 2, 2011 - 5:42PM

    I would like to disagree with Kasim… There is no begging for US trade.. Trade is what it is.. it’s doing business which is perfectly allowed in any faith and belief system as well as culture.

    The notion is gr8 but at the same time we should not be seeking special traatment from any one country the quality of our products and business acumen of our tradesmen and women should speak for themselves. I will work towards having a fair and due process towards the import of Pakistani products and markets.Recommend

  • fahim
    Jun 2, 2011 - 5:47PM

    Why do we always beg from others? If there is potential in trade, be sure business men will find it and use it.. thats the power of money and superior products and services. why do we beg for trade? This way, whenever someone find pakistani products in international market, they will have an image that it is begged product, without any value. We will be even more shamed. And even with import duty exemptions, can we EVER produce any product more cheaper than China, or services better than India? They are decades ahead of us with infrastructure, supply chain, entire business ecosystem set up. Further, trade concessions does not go forever. Maximum for 1-2 years. What after that? We will be coined beggers forever. Internally, our industry is dead, with chinese capturing whatever is remaining. Externally we are been labelled as beggars. Shame on us. Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Jun 2, 2011 - 8:23PM

    @fahim:
    Yes, internally , the so called chinese brothers have done serious harm to local industry and made them uncompetative and externally there are vast markets with major suppliers from so many nations competing for the slice of the action, that Pakistan has been left standing still !!
    This situation is not likely to improve for Pakistan as there are far too many economies in Asia alone, forget Africa or Latin America, which are growing rapidly, namely look at countries like vietnam, cambodia, thailand, bangladesh, etc!!
    So while Pak Politicians and their Army generals are beating their drums about their BOMB and how powerful they are etc….
    The rest of the world has moved dramatically forward in just last five years , not even an decade!!!!
    Something for the people of Pakistan to think about!!! But the time is running out as even the countries who are minnows will overtake Pakistan in next five years, economically, yet it has population in region of over 180 million and still growing.Recommend

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