Legislation endorsed: US panel seeks to limit Pakistan aid

Published: June 15, 2011
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House of Representatives Appropriations Committee panel approved $649 billion in defense spending for the 2012 fiscal year, including $118 billion for wars abroad. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

House of Representatives Appropriations Committee panel approved $649 billion in defense spending for the 2012 fiscal year, including $118 billion for wars abroad. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

WASHINGTON: 

A US House of Representatives panel on Tuesday approved a defence spending bill that would impose limits on American aid to Pakistan. The bill envisages the creation of a special bipartisan group to examine Washington’s future role in the decade-long war in Afghanistan.

The bill endorsed by the House Appropriations Committee would withhold 75 per cent of the $1.1 billion in US aid to Pakistan until the administration reports to Congress on how it would spend the money. The committee on Tuesday went a step further, adopting an amendment by Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, that would give Congress 30 days to review the report before deciding whether the money should be spent.

Pakistan’s “performance or non-performance rubs a lot of people the wrong way,” Flake said. The panel  approved the amendment by voice vote. Overall, the legislation will provide $530 billion to the Pentagon and $119 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. US President Barack Obama had requested for $9 billion more.

The bill provides the money for the military’s ships, aircraft, tanks and personnel, and largely tracks the defense blueprint that the House approved last month. Washington watchers said it reflects both the war fatigue even among the most hawkish lawmakers and the widespread doubts about Pakistan’s reliability in counter-terrorism. The US raid and killing of Osama bin Laden deep inside Pakistan has left many lawmakers questioning Islamabad’s eagerness and whether billions in American financial assistance is being wasted. With the Afghanistan war approaching its 10th year, sentiment is growing in Congress for the US to speed up the withdrawal of the 100,000 American troops in the country. The committee adopted an amendment by Rep Frank Wolf, R-Va., that would create an Afghanistan-Pakistan Study Group, a bipartisan organisation to conduct an independent assessment of the conflict and US interests.

The group would be modelled on the Iraq Study Group.

In a fresh sign of the war weariness, Rep Norm Dicks of Washington state said the administration “has to accelerate the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.” Dicks said the question is whether the nation helps its citizens or “does nation building.”

“Although we are engaged in wars on several fronts, there is also a battle being waged at home — against skyrocketing, dangerous deficits,” said Rep Hal Rogers, R-Ky, chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2011.


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Reader Comments (48)

  • Jun 15, 2011 - 2:37AM

    Now the same people who complain about US interference in Pakistan will argue how unfair it is that they are not giving us money! Good riddance! cut the cordRecommend

  • Jun 15, 2011 - 2:44AM

    Thanks, Actually We want you to completely STOP our AID. Recommend

  • Arindom
    Jun 15, 2011 - 4:06AM

    will stoppage of US Aid result in significant lowering of US leverage over the Pak Army and hence an indirect boost to strategic assets?Recommend

  • Shamsi Ajanee
    Jun 15, 2011 - 5:10AM

    Oversight is a US internal affair as it their money.

    Pakistan should think through its’ destiny: a progressive state or a failed state.

    The way things are going I see a very choppy future.

    Terrorism and costs associated with it are unsustainableRecommend

  • Jun 15, 2011 - 7:16AM

    This is the good news that US is going to monitor our defense spending and subsequently slash and cut the funds. Yes! The amounts spent by Pakistan in the fight against terror must be reimbursed to us by extension after evaluation and verification.

    The sooner the aid is stopped the better for all Pakistanis. Why? What have these corrupt politicians and bureaucrats have to show in practical and real terms what lays in front. Nothing, ansolutely nothing. Salams for a better Pakistan devoid of militant paindoos and feudal lords and their cohorts.Recommend

  • Amir
    Jun 15, 2011 - 7:22AM

    Dont scrutnize Mr. SAM cut it strait away. We will be flourishing out of your umbrellaRecommend

  • Aamir
    Jun 15, 2011 - 7:27AM

    It would be a great help to the Pakistani nation (except political regime who are busy in stuffing their personal coffers abroad) if US stop giving us their so called aid money. This is the only way that we’ll rescue ourselves from the clutches of US. Recommend

  • ali
    Jun 15, 2011 - 7:42AM

    Finally our true friend showing its true colors. Its a blessing disguise. Now even after our govt. and armed forces don’t wake, then Allah hi Hafiz hai.Recommend

  • Bina
    Jun 15, 2011 - 8:10AM

    Yes please cut the aid completely we don’t want it. We will have less problems and be able to focus on what is actually best for Pak. And also not waste time blaming US. Also this money really is not a big deal for the Pak economy. Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 15, 2011 - 8:17AM

    Now Pakistanis would understand why did Kayani wanted the US aid to go to civilian sector? He knew about this bill coming up for voting, so it is easy to divert the money to civilians which is not there? Why did the army generals not talk about diverting any money from defense to civilians before? Cheap publicity and no loss either!

    We the US taxpayers would make sure that no money should be wasted. If at all, the money must go to cilvilian’s welfare and there should be complete oversight. No excuses and no exceptions. Recommend

  • Muhammad Iqbal
    Jun 15, 2011 - 8:32AM

    We needed this. Its a blessing in disguise. Its time to stand on our own feet. No begging No slavery. We have to clean our own mess. Take our own decisions… Good riddence! Recommend

  • aurangzeb rao
    Jun 15, 2011 - 8:42AM

    @TightDhoti:
    No we won’t. Those who want US out of Pak, knew this was coming, so don’t worry, we will live without it, atleast with dignity.Recommend

  • Omar Haroon
    Jun 15, 2011 - 8:45AM

    Good. Dependence on aid will only prevent some much needed reforms to make our own revenue generation more efficient from being implemented. I have nothing against aid in general but relying so heavily on someone else does not bode well with me. Not to mention I’m sick of our corrupt politicians displaying such astounding levels of double standards: they bash America religiously while living lavishly on their funds.Recommend

  • aurangzeb rao
    Jun 15, 2011 - 8:45AM

    It is time that the US diverts this aid to the more poor countries like India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.Recommend

  • Jun 15, 2011 - 8:56AM

    It would be end to CIA activities. Good job Congress.Recommend

  • qaisera
    Jun 15, 2011 - 9:11AM

    plz stop aid Recommend

  • RizwanTKhan
    Jun 15, 2011 - 9:37AM

    Please put a complete stop to your AID and invest in the medical treatment of your policy makers who are destroying the whole world and those who are sitting dumb and blindly following these policies.

    Pakistan shall now be ready to survive (be it just for 1 day but that with the utmost honor). Time for us, the Bhaigharat (disgraced) nation to stand tall with grace and dignity.Recommend

  • Billoo Bhaya
    Jun 15, 2011 - 9:54AM

    US AID in the last 10 years was given to their Man in Islamabad; Musharraf and then to Zardari. US should know and ask them what they did with that money, because none of it helped the common man. Little Late in the day for the bright kids in USG and Congress to be asking this question. If they want to give money they should invest in projects that helps Pakistani people. Not to pay to buy a mercenary army and their equally mercenary officer core.Recommend

  • Amir
    Jun 15, 2011 - 10:01AM

    This is NOT Aid — it was payment ( extremely underpaid) for your services and sacrifices — it was a very bad deal to begin with …keep your money — we do not have to give you any service !Recommend

  • Maher
    Jun 15, 2011 - 10:07AM

    Ohh we beggars will not get dollars now :( wat will happen to our so called politicians, they will die, poor fellows …. Recommend

  • Thinking
    Jun 15, 2011 - 10:10AM

    It would perhaps be a win-win for all. Pakistan’s ghariat brigade can be happy and will have to find something new to complain about / protest about. Perhaps they can now start focusing on tasks of true and monumental importance like the corrupting influence of Indian television! Gasp!

    On the other hand, the US can stop feeding $2 billion per year to corrupt army, ISI, and government officials and just keep running drones.

    Just don’t expect anyone in Beijing or Riyadh to do anything to fill in the gap. Recommend

  • Jun 15, 2011 - 10:15AM

    Stop feeding my already vulnerable countryRecommend

  • MAD
    Jun 15, 2011 - 10:16AM

    Since none of it actually comes down to the people it really isnt needed.Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    Jun 15, 2011 - 10:17AM

    The members of the Congress did not ask Panetta if he had managed to recover the CIA
    informants including an army Major now under custody of apex spy agency of Pakistan. I read the article in NYTimes and surprising our media reports nothing on the matter in Today’s papers? Last night from NY Najam Sehti gave some vital information to GEO at 1105 pm program, would he be able to return safely and continue as critical analyst? Recommend

  • syed Imran
    Jun 15, 2011 - 10:44AM

    Pakistan must stop supporting US war on terror as this war has only brought destruction all around us.
    By this act the true face of United States has once again been revealed. They use you and than desert you. Better should prevail now. Recommend

  • Amir
    Jun 15, 2011 - 11:22AM

    Those who wish to scritnize Army’s funds should go and see the graves of our Shuhadaa. You will get your answer.Recommend

  • Jun 15, 2011 - 11:28AM

    I love the true color nonsense.

    First, they just went over the heads of those who were previously fully responsible for the implementation of that aid. It does not mean the ones who wanted to give it changed their minds. No opinions changed. It’s who made the final decision that changed.

    You guys really should think before speaking. Even right now you’re looking foolish.

    Do you see why you guys get ignored by your government and the government of others? It’s because you’re never happy unless you’re going around in circles. You wanted it to stop so America was the bad guy but, at the first sign it may stop, America is still the bad guy for that too.

    How do you expect anyone to care what you want when you’re obviously never going to stop complaining anyways? There’s no decision that can have positive results with you. Even withdrawal which many wanted turns into America being cowards, running away and abandoning you.

    Damned if they do, damned if they don’t, so they may as well just do it whatever way they see fit without listening to you.Recommend

  • Naeem Siddiqui
    Jun 15, 2011 - 11:29AM

    Thanks God!

    This curse (US AID) is limiting if not stopping completly. Recommend

  • Amir
    Jun 15, 2011 - 11:32AM

    Please stop criticizing the Army. By doing so you are using the same langauage as your enemy. This is what your enemy wants.

    Before callings a shorts on our Army just think they are the ultimate defenders. Wapda, KESE, PIA or Railways will not come to protect us in case of mishap. They need a moral boost from us at this time and what we are giving them.
    Dont forget in 1965 when public supported the army we hit the enemy. What happened in 1971 because of no support.

    This current campaing to malign our soldiers is a part of a large game. May Allah enable us to understand the enemy’s planRecommend

  • wasim younis
    Jun 15, 2011 - 11:49AM

    At the moment Pakistan is in dire straits and we need partners such as America to be on our side. Lets just hope the aid keeps coming or else i think this is going to be a huge dent for Pakistan and we just might lose our footing in the ongoing war on terror.Recommend

  • khan
    Jun 15, 2011 - 11:55AM

    This is very good decesion to stop full AIDS to Pakistan..If USA really wants Pakistan as friend then they should start Economic relation with us so People of Pakistan will not hate them.. America should follow the example of China.. otherwise their AIDS will not work to change the mind and Heart of PAKISTANI because these AIDS goes back in FOREGIN BANKS of our courrupt ESTABLISHMENT/RULERS — USA please stop all AIDS and behave like FRIENDS not like MASTERS as the AFGHAN WAR is also near to END .. So good bye to this HONEY MOON period..Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jun 15, 2011 - 12:01PM

    From the comments it seems most citizens are happy Aid is being cut. It is not a bad idea to become financially independent, but I doubt if the country has the capacity to maintain the defense budget at current levels. To fight the militants ravaging the country needs WILL more than just MONEY. The country finds itself at the crossroads. It does not want to abandon Assets which have turned into Liabilities and is quite clueless in chalking a new path that brings Peace, Progress and Prosperity. Procrastination is no substitute for the urgent action needed in rescuing the country from its current path of self destruction.Recommend

  • ashok sai
    Jun 15, 2011 - 1:20PM

    So, no free lunch any more !!!Recommend

  • Naeem Siddiqui
    Jun 15, 2011 - 1:26PM

    @Amir

    Criticism creates the opportunity of self-reform and reform brings strength and respect for institution. its like immune system of human body, if a person does not have strong immune system, external and internal diseases will kill the person.

    Army and security establishment take this criticism as opportunity and start reforming themselves and correct their priorities otherwise someone from outside will reform them.Recommend

  • syed Imran
    Jun 15, 2011 - 1:50PM

    @ Mark>>>

    What ever you said does not take in to account the destruction we see all around us as a result of American war on terror.It was not Pakistan which did the 9/11. America dragged us in this dirty war and got the whole fabric of this country destroyed.
    Your peanuts dished out through an open blackmail can not even pay for a single innocent life lost, which by now are in the thousands.

    The united States ever used us and then left us in the lurch, whether it was against the Soviet Union or now. We are very very sure that as soon as they leave Afghanistan they will never look back. While all this time when our military and civilians have been dying, to rub salt in our wounds the Americans have been advocating the Indian cause and even granting them the civilian nuclear program not even trying for a while to difffuse the tensions between India & pakistan.

    Now the Americans are projecting India as a stake holder in Afghanistan. This is another way to get Pakistan encircled by enemies. If that be so,Why not Iran, China and Russia which borders Afghanistan.

    We are not foolish not to understand the tricks being played. We have lost much more than what was given by the Americans.. They should put these peanuts in their own coffers as we do not want to be dishonoured again and again. Recommend

  • amoghavarsha.ii
    Jun 15, 2011 - 1:55PM

    Out of 32 comments
    1(one) FOR getting aid.
    2(two) neutral (inclind on not getting aid).
    29(twenty nine) against aid.

    this for ET readers or english speaking/understanding pakistanis.

    I think US Government (Obama in particular) should definitely take note of this kind of thing.

    Atleast I want my govt. to give aid to people who need and appreciate it.Recommend

  • aslambeig
    Jun 15, 2011 - 3:08PM

    this will be a big blow to our economy it will affect kse big time. My friends i am withdrawing all my money from stocks. This the worst news ever for people who dont understand economy please dont comment. People who are invested in kse want to warn you’ll please sell off all your stocks before they become zero value.Recommend

  • bhikari
    Jun 15, 2011 - 3:13PM

    we are slaves of the west and cannot do without their aid. I love america.Recommend

  • RP
    Jun 15, 2011 - 3:18PM

    I say slap a hefty tax on the NATO supplies going through Pakistan to make up for the lost funding.Recommend

  • Amirr
    Jun 15, 2011 - 3:40PM

    @Naeem Siddiqui:
    Not ruling out “A criticism as a reform”. But this require an appropriate time. And this is not a right time.

    Just imagin you have a brother. what happen when you see your brother being beaten up by some people (despite he is at fault). You dont become part of people. For the time being you take a favourable side to show the mob you are with him to save him. Then you take him to home to scrutnize him.Recommend

  • Aurangzeb Rao
    Jun 15, 2011 - 5:01PM

    @Mark:
    Arrogance and superiority complex are not going to get noticed any longer, so stop bullying, as it does not work any more…Recommend

  • Saboor
    Jun 15, 2011 - 5:38PM

    stopping US aid would be blessing for Pakistani nation. Recommend

  • Jun 15, 2011 - 6:51PM

    @syed Imran:
    You’ve wasted your time typing all of that out the moment you disowned the war. That’s your basis for your view, and that basis is not reality. It could be said America strong armed some cooperation, but you were always waist deep in it. Really, it was either that or consider you an enemy with how involved you actually were. It’s the very reason Pakistan gets attacked more often lately. You supported them and then disowned them when a small amount of pressure was applied to you.

    Do you want to know why things got a bit more hostile when you joined the “war on terror?” It’s because the view on your attacker’s side is that you disowned them, you friends, the terrorists. Before that, they considered you a supporter of their delusional jihad. Then, because they were so close to you, they had the advantage of attacking you from the inside as you rejected them only superficially and had no defenses against them. To them, that superficial disowning would be a huge betrayal even if you secretly supported them. Because they rely on media for advertising their cause and even if you never meant anything you said, it still harmed their cause. Also, because they claim religion to be their justification, when you turned your back you automatically became cowardly faithless blasphemers deserving to be struck down by God in their eyes.

    You dug your own graves. Accept it.Recommend

  • BruteForce
    Jun 15, 2011 - 7:43PM

    Most of the commentators are speaking with ego. Pakistani Forex is barely enough for few weeks of imports. It needs US $$s or the economy will come to a halt.

    Pakistan is not even growing at 2.5% /annum, it doesn’t have the economic muscle to voluntarily reject US aid.

    Why do you think the Pakistani politicians and the Army haven’t done it already! Their advisors keep reminding about the reality that what will happen if US actually stops aid.

    Remember with US aid you can say goodbye to WB and IMF loans too!Recommend

  • Shamsi Ajanee
    Jun 15, 2011 - 8:42PM

    It is their money and they can put conditions.If Pakistan does not like the conditions, just so no to the aid.

    Heard the old saying: there is no such thing as free lucnhRecommend

  • Mastishhk
    Jun 15, 2011 - 9:02PM

    @ Mark…I agree completely..Pakistanis criticise each and every action of USA. If they decide to get out of Af-Pak…they are abandoning us..If they don’t get out, they are killing/maiming/looting/dragging us in an unwanted war.Pakistanis will shout from their roof tops that they don’t want american aid but in their hearts they woould want the aid to continue as they don’t like paying taxes.Recommend

  • Khan
    Jun 17, 2011 - 4:30PM

    @Mastishhk:

    We do not want AID we do want trade instead … and there is a huge difference in liking something and not doing something … I live in UK I don’t want to pay too much tax either, just like the majority of people I believe they tax too much excessively but I have never tried to evade tax though I know many English businessmen always do tax evading in some areas.

    It is responsibility of the government to impose tax and take it from payers where its due so the blame lies with the GoP. Its not that we don’t pay tax at all but its not enough they don’t impose higher tax in richer mainly because the majority of parliamentarians are rich so they don’t want to change the status quo.Recommend

  • HA-paki
    Jun 21, 2011 - 8:38PM

    @amoghavarsha.ii:

    Come on…. you know thats not “aid”…. thats the price being paid to kill our own people…. 35,000 of them and couting…. Recommend

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