Pakistan misused funds given by US: envoy

Published: January 13, 2019
A file photo of Cameron Munter. PHOTO: AFP

A file photo of Cameron Munter. PHOTO: AFP

Former US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter on Sunday alleged that Pakistan had failed to utilise the funds given by his country in an adequate manner.

Addressing an event organised by the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations, the former envoy said the US granted funds to Pakistan during the tenure of former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for curbing terrorism.

On the possible meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan, the former ambassador also said that President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan “may find some sort of common ground” if and when a meeting is held between the two leaders.

On January 2, US President Donald Trump had expressed his desire to meet Prime Minister Khan for talks on US-led efforts to jump-start the Afghan peace process.

“Trump and Khan are in power because they both have very good political sense.”

“They have the fingertip feeling, as we say, they’re very clever with people,” he said while speaking at the event, ‘Brunch & Conversation with Ambassador Cameron Munter’, held at Karachi’s Movenpick Hotel.

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The US also gave funds for the promotion of education in Sindh and Balochistan. However, according to the ambassador, the funds were misused.

“The government of Pakistan has been focusing on the development sector, but now there is a need to work on good governance,” he said, adding, “Pakistan should utilise the funds given by the US in a fair manner.”

Munter said that the US wanted to maintain strong relations with Pakistan due to which it has been cooperating with Islamabad and has been investing in the education sector.

According to the former ambassador, Karachi and Mumbai are financial hubs for the United States because of which it is essential for Washington to maintain good ties with India and Pakistan.

He added that the US was aware of the fact that the issues could not be resolved through wars and has been working with different countries across the globe in various capacities. He said that the US has also been holding negotiations with India, Russia and China.

Munter noted that the relations between the US and Pakistan have always been bumpy and added that the US “feels Pakistan does not want to cooperate in the war against terrorism”.

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“The US has always cooperated with Pakistan, and wants strong ties between the two countries,” Munter, who served as US ambassador in Islamabad between 2010 and 2012, said.

“[At] the end of Musharraf’s era, there was hope in the United States to balance the [bilateral] relations, to [clear the misconception] that the US [always] uses Pakistan [for its gains] then throws it away,” he added.

Munter said there was a possibility that if the leaders of the two countries meet, they might find some common ground that could help improve their bilateral relationship.

“Not the kind that typical analytical diplomats find, but they may find that there is common ground in some way,” he added.

The former US envoy said that at a tactical level there was still a sense that the kind of ties the United States has with the Pakistani military are “valuable and important, if for no other reason then that there is still a residual [American] force in Afghanistan”.

He said it was the “competence” of the Pakistan Army that made them a “good partner” for Washington, and cited the example of the 2010 floods in Pakistan.

During the catastrophic floods, he said he had opted not to call the PPP government to help the affected people, and instead approached the Pakistani military.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, while reacting to former US ambassador’s statements, said, “Cameron Munter doesn’t comprehend the depth of Pakistan-US relations.”

“Munter has not been to Washington since a while… he retired a long time ago, he is unaware of the recent developments between Islamabad and Washington,” remarked the minister.

The coalition support fund has ended since a long time, said the minister.

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