WASHINGTON: Despite a rocky relationship that seems to be at the breaking point every few weeks, the United States says it will continue civilian assistance to Pakistan and defines it as critical to US strategy.
In a statement attached to the report on civilian assistance to Pakistan and Afghanistan submitted by the State Department to Congress last week, and released to the public on Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “Disengaging now would undermine our military and political efforts and the national security interests of the United States.”
On Pakistan, Secretary Clinton said it meant leveraging resources provided by the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill to “address major economic challenges that threaten Pakistan’s stability.”
She added that US efforts were not meant to completely turn around Pakistan’s economy, but to help give Pakistanis “a stake in their country’s future and undercut the appeal of insurgency.”
Challenges and opportunities
Admitting that “expectations are extremely high, both in terms of speed of implementation and results,” the report lists the problems in the implementation of aid programmes.
Tensions in the US-Pakistan relationship have restricted the ability of US personnel to get visas while floods led to a diversion of aid to different programs, the report states.
“Devolution [post 18th Amendment] has left donors without the partners they had cultivated at the federal level to implement their programmes,” the report adds.
The report cites problems facing Pakistan’s economic growth, and calls for a Congressional authorisation to create a US-Pakistan Enterprise Fund.
The fund would help mobilise the private sector, and would help transition from civilian assistance to trade. This is an oft-repeated mantra – trade, not aid – by Pakistan officials. State Department says it is working with Congress on the Reconstruction Opportunity Zones program and on “a bilateral investment treaty that would improve the business climate in Pakistan.”
The report states that since the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill was passed, “the US has disbursed about $2 billion across many sectors.”
Impact of recession
The report also mentions the recession in US which has led to a decrease in appropriation of aid to Pakistan.
“Appropriations of civilian assistance to Pakistan reached KLB levels ($1.5 billion/year) in FY 2010 but not subsequent years. In FY 2011, funding fell to $1.09 billion; FY 2012 levels are uncertain. The Administration reaffirms, however, the intent of the KLB authorization in its commitment to providing robust, multi-year civilian assistance to Pakistan.”
The State Department’s report says it has and will continue to urge Pakistan to adopt reforms, including in stabilising energy supplies, tax reforms, and promotion of trade.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2011.
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@Pundit: why are you concerned? this anti pakistan mentality is the biggest hiccup in normalization of relations between the two. people like u are more responsible for present state of affairs than pakistanis.any way if u cant contribute peace at least do not spew venom
Dear Friends: U.S aid to Pak is not to please a friend or make her weak instead it's an honest effort on part of U.S to give our "private sector" a needed shot-in-the-arm to get on our feet to play a crucial role in national economic & infrastructure development. Actually that's how U.S. survived deadly economic downturn itself_ by helping everyone & anyone willing to get up & work for the country. Kerry, Lugar and Burman did a thorough study of our unending economical problems we are stuck-in. There is no hope from anywhere we must know that. There is no magic bullet to kill the demon or we could have done that by now. Our most honest leaders too will have to stay in power to do anything, which has not been possible. It does need a doctor no mater how much you hate him, to give you a shot in the arm. America taught the whole world the tricks of the trade. China, India & Russia were idle with all their might & creativity until America opened its market recently to them. We have no other choice but to listen to the Expert or give-in to the Extremists who would love to break us off from any idea of progress to pull us deep into the misery they are familiar with & where they look good too.
@AB: I'm sure people would love it if you actually would back those words up one day. But, until then, Pakistan going down the drain means added danger for the rest of the world. The weaker Pakistan becomes, the stronger the influences of its "assets." The stronger the influence of the "assets" the more the rest of the world will have to deal with them because it won't only be Pakistan doesn't want to, but that they can't. If Pakistan weakens enough, the militants won't even have to hide anymore. Their freedom of movement is proportional to Pakistan's ability to resist. Or, also just as likely, proportional to the influence Pakistan can have over them. They won't ignore times of weakness. That's quite annoying on other levels since dealing with them in a scenario involving an extremely weak Pakistan actually does mean that the ridiculous claims of innocents being blown up by drones can become a reality through other means as they'll be in densely populated areas with true innocents. Obviously drones wouldn't be used there. But, drones aren't the only things capable of killing people in such a way. Don't expect the world to die so you can be stubborn and self-aggrandizing.
Admirable sentiments. Just make sure you are not stabbed in the back by 'friends'.
US should think 10 times before extending aid......:)
Please stop giving us AID. We, as a nation need to step up ourselves.. enough with the begging bowl. We are a proud, intelligent, resourceful people - we dont need handouts.
America gives a lot - what it does not understand is how to give.
Our common objective of defeating terrorism continues to move us forward, despite all the challenges that have arisen over time. Those same challenges tested our will and commitment to this war on terror, but our steadfast response has thus far defied the critics and prophets of doom. The hope of seeing our relationship falter will simply remain a hope, and so long as we remain united, our enemies will continue to taste defeat through our cooperation. Our common interests have continued to prevail, and both nations are proving that most issues can be worked out and overcome for the sake of achieving the common goals. The US and Pakistan are also proving the importance of putting our nations’ safety first. Our government has repeatedly said that we will continue to support and assist Pakistan in its struggle against insurgency, and together we will make the region free and clear of terrorism. We have always appreciated all of Pakistan’s efforts in this common war and will continue to do so! The doubters will continue to doubt and critics will continue to criticize, but ultimately, the responsibility of helping and supporting each other rests upon us.
Oh not again, Why America insists on giving aid to Pakistan. NGOs are getting worried about their good life?
Well, those terrorists also came to Kashmir from Pakistan. India took care of it, but US could not do that in Afghanistan.
@John B: Trade is like having an employment .. but if you are not getting a job then obviously you will have to accept weekly/monthly unemployment allowance to survive .. won't you ?
@zalim singh: Have some shame will you ? 80,000+ were killed in Indian Kashmir and you guys talk about terrorism .. Not that I am interested in Kashmir or whatever they do but at least don't point fingers at others while you hands are still red. Or do you want me to provide you independent links for the figures?
According to the Human Development Index (HDI), 60.3% of Pakistan's population lives on under $2 a day, compared to 75.6% in nearby India and 81.3% in nearby Bangladesh, and some 22.6% live under $1 a day, compared to 41.6% in India and 49.6% in Bangladesh. Based on that, India and Bangaldesh deserve aid.
Pakistan pledges to continue providing terrorism to the world.
Its All About.....
Do More and Stop me if u can .... !!!
Good idea, civilian aid is much more sensible than military one. Weaponry breeds belligerence and doesn't buy friendship or sympathy. Furthermore it sows resentments and hatred.
Uncle Sam!! We do not want your money, as it is soaked in blood. We can live without the aid as we did in the 90s. We will not starve and live with dignity. Mothir in law Clinton comes again and again and scolds us to DO MORE... now we all say NO MORE!!
YANKEES GO HOME!!
Its US decision to give aid to Pakistan, If American want to give aid to Pakistan despite all their economic hardship it means it must be serving some very vital and criticle interest of US of A.
If you dont agree you can start a campain in US to stop aid to Pakistan. blaming Pakistan will certainly not work in this case.
While we appreciate that the US is one of the biggest donors in everyone of Pakistan's emergencies like the 2005 earthquake and 2010 floods, they must understand that killing our people whether its Ray Davis or a drone, is not what ally's do. And we don't want aid - we want access to your markets to sell our top quality products in many areas. That will change the mindset of the Pakistan people who as everyone is seeing is fed up as being seen as a beggar. We have the talent and resources to create several industries that can do more than feed our people - if given a chance by the international community.
Thank you. We have enjoyed your Hospitality enough. Please Leave us Alone... We shall find our own path to follow.
When your girsfriend, whom you have beeing wooing for years, is upset with you, the only way you can make her look at you is to shower her with gifts. And more gifts.
I mean with reg to US: Do they have a choice?
I thought PAK does not want any aid. Not that I care, but I remember the slogan trade not aid coming from all quarters only recently.