For all its chiding, US to continue civilian aid

State Department report defines aid to Pakistan as critical to American strategy.

Huma Imtiaz November 05, 2011

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.


M. Ahmad | 11 years ago | Reply Most people are begging not to be given aid from the USA, amazing! I bet they wouldn't refuse if the Americans were to offer, say $50,000 direct into THEIR bank account! What's $2000,000,000 a year if someone else is getting it? The ones who are saying YES PLEASE, are ones sitting pretty in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Another couple of million for a rainy day never goes wrong... say what?
antanu g | 11 years ago | Reply

@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

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