Pak-US ties: US to continue civilian aid, mega energy projects, PM told

Assurance to ease fears that IMF assistance may be affected.


Express July 17, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


A week after announcing suspension of military assistance to Pakistan, the US has assured the government that civilian assistance and financing of mega projects in the energy sector will continue.


Finance minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh apprised Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Saturday that US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides has assured him of “continuation of civilian assistance, willingness to undertake major projects in the energy sector including the Diamer Basha Dam and preparation of programme to reflect priorities set by the government of Pakistan.”

The finance minister also briefed the prime minister on the suspended Coalition Support Fund, part of the military assistance package Pakistan was receiving under the Kerry-Lugar bill, said the media office of the Prime Minister House.

Pakistan was due to receive $800 million in this regard which has now been put on halt. There were fears that suspension of US assistance could affect the bailout package Pakistan is receiving from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

However, while concrete assurances from the US for continuation of civilian assistance is likely to annul such fears, some analysts believe that the government would have to divert more civilian resources for the armed forces if the US does not review its decision on military aid.

‘Strategic convergence’

Islamabad has said that strategic convergence is emerging between Pakistan and the United States that will lead to a win-win situation for both sides.

In her weekly news briefing here on Saturday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Tehmina Janjua said that Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Washington.

The US has reconfirmed that it will continue its civilian assistance while for resumption of military assistance and other issues, diplomatic engagements and discussions are under way, Janjua said.

(With additional input from wires)

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2011.


COMMENTS (11)

Hedgefunder | 10 years ago | Reply

I understand that the PM , is visiting my Home Nation, UK on a private visit !!!! now why would he do that??? Parhaps to set up his accomodation requirements for future!!! Once again we poor Taxpayers in Uk will have to bear the Costs of their Security Requirements as a norm as with Uncle Mush too !!!

Mirza | 10 years ago | Reply

@Nazir Habib: I can understand your point of view and can appreciate it too. However, why are you against "only" the civilian aid? If I were against the US aid, I would first oppose the non-productive military aid and then civilian aid. To fight terrorism and protect our borders we have over half a million strong army. For the fight against terrorism we have not hired any new forces, only moved them from one place to the other. Similarly we did not need to buy new high tech equipment to fight these rag tag groups of terrorists. In other words no additional overhead was needed, only the existing soldiers and equipment was used which otherwise would be getting obsolete. Why would Pakistani army and some others expect any other country to pay for protecting their borders and their citizens? Why do we have a huge army with all the expensive toys if they are only going to use them if the US pays them the money? Isn't it a classic definition of mercenary force? Pakistan army being the paid servant of Pakistan and it should help protect its citizens and territory under the civilian govt, which the constitution requires of them. Constitution never talks about being paid by any foreign power. Thanks and regards, Mirza

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