WASHINGTON: A move that hopes to curtail the spread of explosives might end up detonating an already-charged relationship.
A US Congressional panel has agreed to freeze $700 million in aid to Pakistan in a punitive measure that aims to stop the spread of improvised-explosive devices in Afghanistan, raw material for which, US lawmakers say, is smuggled from Pakistan.
The US wants “assurances that Pakistan is countering improvised explosive devices in their country that are targeting our coalition forces”, Representative Howard McKeon, a House Republican, told reporters.
The freeze was agreed upon by leaders of the armed services committees from both parties in the House and Senate.
“The vast majority of the material used to make improvised explosive devices used against US forces in Afghanistan originates from two fertiliser factories inside Pakistan,” Republican Senator John McCain said in the Senate last week.
The US has urged Pakistan to regulate the distribution of ammonium nitrate to Afghanistan strictly. So far, Pakistan has only produced draft legislation on the issue.
Analysts say US demands will be tough to meet because of rampant corruption on both sides of the porous border that makes smuggling easy.
“We pay a 1,200-rupee bribe to the Pakistani Frontiers Corps on the border for every car carrying fertiliser,” said Kamal Khan, a businessman in the border town of Chaman.
Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Salim Saifullah warned that relations, which are already at a low point, could worsen further following the decision by the US House-Senate panel.
“I don’t think this is a wise move. It could hurt ties. There should instead be efforts to increase cooperation. I don’t see any good coming out of this,” Saifullah told Reuters.
Foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit also suggested pressure from the US would hurt ties, saying Islamabad believes “in cooperative approaches”.
An official of the economic affairs division, meanwhile, told The Express Tribune that the freeze would affect the Pakistan Counter-Terrorism Capability Fund which was considered military aid but had never been at the disposal of Pakistani civilian or military authorities.
“It was not economic assistance. The amounts under this package were at the disposal of US CENTCOM” the official said.
‘Pakistan, US will patch up differences’
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, meanwhile, said that the US and Pakistan “can patch up their differences.” According to a report in First Post, Panetta said that restoring the strained relationship with Pakistan was “critical” to long-term progress in Afghanistan, in his first statement since the November 26 Nato attack which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
The secretary said, “I am confident that at one point, we are going to be able to restore our normal supply routes.”
However, the decision to freeze aid could prompt Pakistan to harden its stance towards Washington.
“I must say that the aeriel attacks on our army border posts on Nov 26, 2011, constituted a huge setback to the prospects of much needed cooperation between all important stakeholders.
(Read: Pakistan-US relations)
(Reuters with additional reporting by our correspondent in Islamabad)
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2011.
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@Bangladeshi: Ahh! The ummah. A Bangladeshi muslim feeling the pain of the Afghan muslim. Stop this nonsense. No muslim country cares about the abject poverty and malnutrition in your country, not in the least your former oppressor Pakistan. You should just focus on the betterment of your own country and people. As they say charity begins at home.
@Saad: USA does it not only in Pakistan but in other countries also, for example Chile, Egypt, Shah of Iran, etc. That is why India has steadfastly refused aid from all countries but taken loans when needed & paid them back. I have always advocated that Pakistan stop taking aid & learn to live within its means. Hope they learn from India.
closely related development is that now taliban is opening up its embassy in qatar with all thee embassy privileges. now there wont be any need of pakistani involvement in the peace talks with taliban. now they dont need pakistan, they wont pay pakistan. i think attack on pakistani troops was also to severe ties with pakistan- intentional
YES China will help Pakistan and yes they will also help themselves in the process - besides a presence in Gilgit Baltistan , then will now want more rights in that area plus some presence in Azad Kashmir - and after that who knows what - everything has its price , even CHina
"I hate to say this but during 2010 even India gave 25 million." Why should you hate to say this? It is to be welcomed. Also remember that without India's positive vote, Pakistan would not have been admitted as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (it got exactly the minimum number of votes for this). Pakistan's gesture of giving MFN status to India (reciprocating India's similar gesture more than 15 years ago) also has to be seen as a correct step in CBMs (confidence building measures). Sincerely pray for feeling of brotherhood and friendship between India and Pakistan. .
We are an Agricultural country we can live without your Aid but you will Die if we withdraw our support in Afghanistan
@mad: Good that you can laugh in all this mayhem
china has the full responsibility to give aid as we did it all for foreseeing china's future, our patriotism, friendship title and Chinese aid
Thank you America. Cut all kind of ties with Pakistan. We can survive with out you but you won,t Insha Allah.
Now this has been obligatory and need of the hour that Pakistan must has to convey this message to US' and NATO's officials that now no more your support and co-operation with you now and in the future to stay in Afghanistan without any fear of any threat by trusting Allah Almighty firmly and strongly.
You people don't understand the economics..... The 3 billion dollars that America spends in Pakistan for whatever projects helps the country in greater ways.... Loss is not just of 3b dollars but there is a multiplication factor that goes with it which can cause a loss of at least 10b dollars to the economy(assuming $3b aids) which is a lot with respect to the present conditions of pakistan.... Also if sanctions are applied on pakistan due to bad relations it would be catastrophic to the economy.... Plz don't say we can adjust without having relations eith the US..... We can't cut the relations abruptly but can do it in times of growth and at a slower rate..... Until then we should remain restrained and try not to aggravate the situation.
Only solution to tread on a dignified path in the comity of nations is to enforce austerity measures in govt spendings n corruption be eliminated.Unfortunately, this is difficult because of leadership crisis n you can barely find people in the govt jobs those who say NO when they get an opportunity to earn by any means.We have to wake up n instead of looking towards other countries for help, we should correct our ownself move forward with patriotic approach..
Thanks Uncle Sam...!
@Amjad: You must have a degree in nonsense. What you said doesn't even fit real world cause and effect. It's just a bunch of things you want to be true and make it look like there's some well thought out backing to your conclusion. Instead, you just try to make it sound complicated when it's really just hard to follow because your pieces to the puzzle really just don't fit without a hammer but try to imply the reader is beneath your level of intelligence. Actual fools usually believe everyone else are the fools. In reality, they just don't get it themselves and never will.
The headline, "No carrot, just stick" is plain wrong. The carrots are just being held back. That is what carrots are for. They are given when requirements are met, and held back when requirements are not. The correct headline would be: "No new carrots; old carrots being held back".
"Even India had to pledge the gold in 1990 to rise money. thank god we came out of that mess.'
Indians were fortunate too be led by competent political leaders.
@Amjad: Do you really believe that guy is an Afgan. A true afgan will never support US & india. Do you guys actually believe the afgans are happy being occupied & ruled by puppet Karzai. If anything he is an Afgan american or an Indian in disguise. You shouldn't spell hatred against your AF brothers just because of some pseudo Afgan. The afgans have suffered a lot and anyone pretending to be an afgan should be ashamed of mocking the misery the afgans went through.
@Sarah: "when we fight because we want to eliminate it" when that happens there will be no local support and terrorism will die rather fast. You need to educate the misguided to stop supporting them to kill the problem.
Pakistan's economy has already stopped breathing. There is this saying: when you have drowned, it doesn't matter if it was 10 feet of water or a 100 feet. Whatever little money is leftover can be divided equally between the military and the politicians. Who cares about the citizen anyway? Not Kayani, not Gilani.
@Ali S: Spot on
@Afghan: Pakistan can do without the so called aid which is small in comparison to the losses Pakistan has endured for helping the thankless Afghanis. Though Pakistan can do without the aid, Afghanistan cannot survive without hand outs. If you want proof, look at most Pakistanis in North America who work and pay taxes; then compare to Afghanis in the West who are mostly on welfare. Don't worry about Pakistan, when sanctions are imposed and aid is cut, the nation will become more self reliant and independent if past experiences are anything to go by. Remember what happened when India tested several nuclear bombs and Pakistan was forced to show its deterrent. Despite sanctions, the nation become more self reliant in weapons such as planes and tanks.
@Kamran: Kamranbhai, why do you 'hate' to say India gave you US$ 25 million? Which you were too embarrassed to receive gracefully? Never ever forget that today India is Pakistan's only genuine selfless friend!
US economy is in doldrums.They need a breather.Give them a break.
Announcing a default is a great idea. Once you shout default, most banks will sit down and try to bail you out. At this point in time, if one country defaults there is great potential of many others to follow. This may start the true meltdown of the financial system. So my suggestion: Stop accepting US Aid and announce a potential default.
this is the best thing happened in long time all the money given to Pakiaas end up setting more terror camp by pakis to kill more civilised people . America should cut all the Oxygen for these thief or they start chanting America Is Akbar
I do not know who said that ammonium nitrate is being used by the Taliban, but it is nonsense. The U.S./ NATO alliance have been dropping huge numbers of bombs in Afghanistan for ten years now and a large number did not explode. The Taliban, who are very innovative, have been collecting those unexploded weapons and recovering the contents. Thus, they have all the high tech. ingredients to make improvised explosive weaponry. America, stop blaming Pakistan for all your mistakes. You attacked the Taliban in the first place, you have been trying to destroy the Taliban for ten years with the assistance of the best equipped European armies in the world. You have failed and cannot accept that it is your fault. Stop blaming Pakistan for ten years of failure and if you cannot do the job, go home and leave the region in relative peace.
We do not need ANY aid!! Why do we have to go to any country for money?? Why depend on anyone? When the issue of terrorism becomes our own, when we fight because we want to eliminate it and not because America said so, is when we will truly rid ourselves of this craziness. Pakistanis for Pakistanis!
ps- Also vote for Imran Khan =) WE NEED CHANGE!
""Dost dost na raha yar ki yari na rehi"'. A very usual reaction from the US...i think zardari will sent MR shujaat to chaina with a new bowl(begger's bowl)...akhair chaudry sahib kis din kam aayen ge
We need to sell our goods and products in our local market and lessen the import of foreign products. This would not only be good for our assets but also our liabilities will decrease. Gradually we can stand on our own feet, get out of debts and ofcourse we won't need any aid then but yes this dream will need time, effort and most importantly vision by not only the leaders of the state but also by the general public.
Great- Pakistan doesn't need the US money anyhow. It is a pittance considering how much service Pakistan has done and how much Pakistan has suffered. They killed 24 soldiers and now they want to freeze aid. Tells you how they see Pakistan as an ally. Let them use the Central Asian route to supply their Indian allied puppets in Afghanistan. They can keep spending 5 times as much to send supplies this route and pay the taxes to others but they don't want to pay Pakistan its fair share. Well it's for them to decide how much money they have when Congress is debating the US debt crisis.
Thats excellent news !!!!
We want all aid to be abolished .... we want our corrupt elite to learn to live on it's own !!!! we the common people are already living on our own !!!!!!
Let PIA make money, Let Railways make money and let steel mill make money !!!!
Have the people of Pakistan ever got to see any of this aid money, over these many years ??? The answer is a big no and yet they have to pay for servicing this debt through increased indirect taxes and borrowings putting us further in debt so that a few corrupt greedy people can enjoy. How long will this indignity continue ?
lets tax nato containers and charge US for other services we are providing we can earn a lot more than these peanuts
Please, oh please can people just stop talking about asking china for aid? I mean, seriously? Have we become so dependent on aid that we dont even wanna try to stand on our own two feet?
Come on people, get some self respect!
@Hu Jintao: come on.....you lovely indian...change your name to krishan, ganga or mehta rather tahn using guise of Hu jin Tao.......be confident and be yourself.....
@Lofted Shot: "If 18 Billion Pakistani donate 1 rupee a day, imagine how much money we can generate from our own people"
1). I think you are confusing billion and crore. There are 18 crore Pakistanis. A hundred crore is a billion. SO actuallly there are just 180 milion Pakistanis and if each one gives 1 rupee it will come to 180 million rupees which is around 2 million dollars.
2) APkistan has one of the lowest tax to GDP ratios in the world. If Pakistanis actually paid the taxes they owed, the country would not be in this situation anyway.
Things don't look so good. But never loose hope! Trade with India will help!
Aid frozen - Phase I - Dec 2011
Declaring Pak as a Terrorist State and Imposing Economic Sanctions - Phase II - June 2012
Declaring Human Rights Violation abt Balochistan - Phase III - Oct 2012
Declaration of Independence for Balochistan - Phase IV - June 2013
Creation of separate country for Pashtun along the border - Phase V - Dec 2014
So Pakistan has been supplying ammonium nitrate which is a fertilizer to some farmers who are not into farming. Just for this small mistake US has stopped the aid...too bad.
This is great news of Pakistan.
Finally we are breaking the dollar barrier, tough times ahead but we should be ready to pay the price for our freedom and sovereignty.
Reminds me of what our great Quaid said ' Faith-Unity-Discipline' -as this is our solution.
Interesting how many comments talk of 'Ofcourse, China will help'. Why can't the nation take this opportunity to stand on its own two feet? US has not even totally pulled out its aid and people are already placing their fortune at someone else's feet. There is no free meal, if the US wanted action against terror for its money...who knows what China would want in return.
Thanks a lot. We don't need it. Plz now leave.
Good. It's about time everyone realizes that you can't just be gobbling down someone else's money without compromising your integrity for them. Hopefully this will result in a rational rethinking of our foreign policies and national priorities by the civilian / military leaderships. And unfortunately I have to say that the many people who think that "our good friend" China will bail us out for everything are deluded - the effort needs to be from within us.
Good. Best for both countries. Specialy for Pakistan. Now the have chance to stand on their feet with dignity.
I belive it is best for both countries specially for Pakistan. Now they ha e chance to stand on their feet with dignity
@PK-Jawan: Lets ask imran khan and co. to help pakistan in time of NO US aid. imran khan can ask his brothers, Talibans and all religious parties to help him to help pakistan.
@Tony Singh: fully agree sir.
@Anon: Brother i always wish you well maybe sometimes my words may not convey my feelings correctly on the other hand we are all hypersensitive to even mild criticism from across the border. We have a long way to go hopefully we wont take another 64yrs
Thank you very much U.S.A
@Other side of border: Bad taste
Why do we Pakistanis keep looking either towards USA or China for aid which acts like a drug.Once you become addicted it is difficult to get over it.Let us stop looking outwards and start helping ourselves.No one is a friend including the so called brotherly muslim countries.Every one has their own national interest. Unfortunately we started asking for aid immediately after 1947 when our government asked for 200 million dollars as economic and military assistance from USA.It was turned down. God helps those who help themselves.
We shouldnt base our relationship on aid from India. However Kashmir has always been a lost cause. It shouldnt be put on the backburner infact it belongs in the dustbin. Since the vast majority of Kashmiris have no wish to be part of Pakistan. (residents of Azad Kashmir do not like Pakistan at all). The struggle in Kashmir is one for an independent state not for joining pakistan. So lets accept that and move on and let India deal with its internal problem. We have wasted far too many lives on it.
History repeats itself, as soon as democracy comes to town, US of A has one reason or another to impose sanctions, block aids etc.
America continues its track record of supporting dictators and thwarting any attempts for democracy to take root in the Muslim world.
Yes, Buzz off Americano, we don't need your money. I am glad this happened. If 18 Billion Pakistani donate 1 rupee a day, imagine how much money we can generate from our own people.
@Ashraf P: Buddy its better to be self reliant and not a begger.
Till now all the aid u were getting was being used to procure weapons against India. Now u will beg in front of China.
Good move, Americans. Keep the pressure on. Pakistan won't stand the aid cuts any longer.
There maybe much to celebrate as some of the readers feel but there will not be much to celebrate when the Taliban or their sympathizers come to Power. Cutting ones nose to spite ones face is no good.
China na hua bait ul maal ho gaya... Give it few days and see how are government changes its stance on USA. We can leave USA and thats a fact
@jagit sidhoo for once I actually agree with you, the US has milked whatever it could after giving us aid. Plus the aid has only benefited our military and corrupt politicians, there has hardly been any impact for the common man on the street. Also i think the aid cut is an excuse to blame us, the reality is these people have no money anymore, hence their influence is diminishing every where. So yes there is more relief, but I do hope we work towards more self reliance.
Welcome to reality my dear fellow countrymen brace yourself for loadshedding and inflation.
I love the picture of this story, it says it all.... wow..!!
Right decision. Holy warriors can do jihad with more vigour. As per mirza Sahaban: Galian ho jaan sunjian te wich mirza yaar phiray>
A very wise move by the U.S lawmakers! In a similar vein, I hope they will condemn Pakistan for for its human rights abuses in Balochistan.
@Other side of border: The comment of yours is in a bad taste.
$700 million is a huge shortfall. In a country with no notable revenues this aid will be badly missed, especially if it were used for civilians. China might jump in to fill the gap, yet on what terms?
@Abdul Rehman Gilani: ha ha ha
This is the best news so far. This is the best opportunity to set the tone for sovereign grants and IFI sponsored bailouts. I am tired of being recognized as a lackey, need my identity back. My word to the great legislators of a great nation , "Please do everything to keep all your money to yourself and look after your own people at home, our prayers are with you. Hopefully we will find other opportunities to create friendly ties (NOT!!)"
We would have more than that had we only taxed the NATO containers.
If you need more grass, please let us know we will send them as much as you want :) lol
@LOK: You gave away the fact you didn't read the article. Had you read more than just the title you would know it's just a fraction of it.
@Pundit, What if US says No Aid and No Trade
Pakistanis send 1 billion every month in remittances only. Please take your millions and stop killing our people.
Get out of the Dirty American War. Pakistan doesnt need this so called aid. Give it to India for they are the true allies.
@Kamran: The reason being is because they don't trust the corrupt government. It's simple as that.
well well well It is a good new for our country. Lets learn from this and work for the betterment of our country by putting our effort on a single issue i.e. education, first of all we have to win the war against illiteracy then other issues like, poverty. It is all the matter of time..wake up pakistan
@KH: USA has also hit the right spot.Let us see how long we bear it.
@faraz: Good One !
It is truly a sorry state of affairs when a countries people, can only think of begging now with someone else. This is a country of talented people.
Remember, there never is free lunch, and what should one say about China. Who is running away from them - Myanamar.
Pakistan needs to kick out american from other bases also like they have done in the case of shasmi air base.. a lesson in return that would affect the Americans....
@venuto: longer than it would have "with: the US aid
Oversees Pakistanis will make up for this 700M comfortably. I never knew that the aid from US was at such low levels. Blessing in disguise.
US has finally realised that Pakistan wants Trade and not Aid:)
@Kamran: Do you think begging from even your friendly country becomes an entitlement. Try to live on your own.
@Abdul Rehman Gilani: nope! they are distributed between the influential.
The fact that there is more relief than anger in the comments over the aid being cut off is a good sign but hope that China will make good the shortfall is misplaced as the Chinese drive a very hard bargain leave alone being generous as aid donors. Self reliance is the road to long term prosperity
Some people are excited about CHINA. They need to recall their memory when Zardari went to CHINA after may 2 incident and China not only refused and only agreed to help PAK in infrastructure etc but also advised PAK to go hard on extremist elements which are also creating problems for CHINA in south province.
Wake up guys
"But during the floods both 2010 & 2011. China gave us very small sums and when even countries like Iran gave us 100 million China gave us just 5 million."
You are right. But, as for Iran, though it mentioned $100M, only a fraction of that was paid.
There has been no country as generous to Pakistan as the US has been for the past six decades. Without US financial support, Pakistan will sink. Lot of the ghairat brigade that badmouthing the US here just don't understand this simple economic fact. Even the IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank etc. money will dry up without US nod. The external debt is fast approaching $60B. Time is fast approaching when Pakistan can't even pay the interest payments on these debts.
Well nobody is forcing us to take aid we can simply say no... but wait how is Pakistan going to feed its people without any real economy
Lets see how long your country can function without US Aid.
stop giving aid and start giving tax on nato supplies.
Wait, did we even get aid from the US?
Now US should cancel all green cards given to Pakistani citizens and send them back to Pakistan the should also stop issuing visas to Pakistanis.
@Kamran: I think (well I hope at least!) Ashraf P. was being sarcastic!
A welcome move. Incidentally, most of the Pakistani nation will actually appreciate this 'kind' gesture. Thank you!
@Pundit - Corrupt leadership swallowed the aid! So what good was it? It just promoted more corruption and terrorism! With all this aid, Pakistan has experienced a downward trend. . .so there was something wrong about this whole aid business!
I don't understand why my Pakistani brothers are looking at China to make up for the lost aid from US, why dont we vow to make pakistan independent instead of depending whether on US, China or anyone else. @R S JOHAR: what will US do when pakistan will tax Nato supplies and get the money legally instead of too much relying on aid. And further, whatever Pakistan might do to help US they are going to be dissatisfied. for US, cooperation means a total submission to them!
Blessing in disguise.
keep ur money in ur pants....we dont want it.. !!!!!
@Pundit: Hate to say this coz these are hardcore facts. We are not receiving the amount of money that we deserve from China.. We need to see whether we can rely as an alternative to US on China. otherwise no use..
@Kamran: Whatz wrong with you guys, why do you expect charity from other.
Why don't you just say "Thanks for stopping the aid".
This is your golden opportunity to stand on your own legs. Even India had to pledge the gold in 1990 to rise money. thank god we came out of that mess.
@skunt - Love the sass! It's hilarious to see more relief than anger in the comments over the aid being cut off. There is a common realization that aid or no aid, we are worse than we were in 1998 when under sanctions!
@skunt - Love the sass! It's hilarious to see more relief than anger in the comments over the aid being cut off. There is a common realization that aid or no aid, we are worse than we were in 1998 when under sanctions!!
Is that is cash or Promises??
@Kamran: Are you saying that we forget Kashmir and base our friendship on aid from India. Shame on you.. ...
Well I have to accept thats an offer that can be considered.
No issues.. we got China n Iran...
China will completely help Pakistan because its an all-weather friend. US aid doesn't matter.
"Pakistan’s civilian leaders have in the past warned against aid cuts, saying it would only harden public opinion against the United States."
That's the one funny thing about the Pakistani government fueling anti-American sentiments into overdrive as of lately. If you do it too much, there's no longer a downside to cutting it. Rock bottom is rock bottom. May as well just keep the money if public opinion was the only downside to cutting it. If it can't get worse, there's no longer a reason to heed the negative reactions.
Dear Colleagues, As a Muslim, believe in Allah and on your strength that Allah bestowed to you. No need to big anyone.
Anmy short fall of the money will be met by all Pakistanis whether living in the country or abroad.
@Kamran: Sir why do uou hate to say this ?
"I hate to say this but during 2010 even India gave 25 million."
Pls learn to accept with grace and thanks whatever is given so generousuy.
I request all the world to ban aid to pakistan (on whatever pretext) because once they all do so,then we will learn how to live on our own and how to live with dignity, USA please keep your words
Why doesn't this article call out clearly that Congress froze only security/military aid? That civilian aid was not affected.
@faraz: I thought Pakistan's children were its strategic assets.
thanks...we dont need it
As we all expected of our close friend USA whose war we are fighting and doing its dirty work. We don't need any of your aid. We rather skip our dinner than ask for your mercy.
This is great news.
I hope they just end it instead of freezing it.
this was not usaid but pocket money to those incharge of our fortunes
great keep it up
@Gul Khan: What happened during presller amendment.. did we stand on our own feet.. just go and check todays KSE and you will know the impact of this US decision on our economy.. dont forget we have to pay 6 billion back during the next 4 yrs
@Ashraf P: Maybe you are right.. But during the floods both 2010 & 2011. China gave us very small sums and when even countries like Iran gave us 100 million China gave us just 5 million. I hate to say this but during 2010 even India gave 25 million.
We have to be very straightforward with our Chinese friends. We need to tell them that our friendship should be corroborated with substantial aid and not peanuts.
Oh thank you.
Pakistan should start planning to stand on its own feet. Sooner or later we need to stop depending on aid, and learn to be self dependent.
Do more !!!
Not a big deal, Pakistan stops supplies to Afghanistan and US freezes the aid to teach her a lesson.
The aid freezing shall help Pakistan to stand on its own feet and make an independent sovereign foreign policy that is in the interest of Pakistan and its people. Long Live Pakistan, Long Live Gen. Kiyani.
lovely .. keep your money to urself!! we want to live with dignity not with with your money
Never mind, we have china to pay the Aid. We are supporting china in crushing resistance.
We don’t need aid; we can earn a lot by selling our strategic assets in the open market.
This is the best news for today. You made my day. Viva Express Tribune.
But are the Parliament, Senate, Cabinet members and Feudocrats taking Valium? Or are they taking anti-laxatives? Because this news item must have stimulated their bowels.
No need to worry. Our friend China will compensate Pakistan. All we have to do is ask. What are friends for?