Its not the AID that the US provides to Pakistan but its the cost of services rendered by Pakistan that the US has to reimburse.
By Shahid Zahur
US lawmakers have rejected the bill regarding stoppage of aid of Pakistan but have agreed to attach strings to it as have been done in the past. The Pressler amendments and many others are on the record. Earlier after 2nd May incident, lot of dirt was thrown on Pakistan and its institutions. Army will continue to fight terrorists, using its own resources was the response of Pakistan on stoppage of so called aid. President Obama’s Chief of Staff, William Daley announced the decision of suspension of $800 million military aid. This 800 million is not aid but some of the expenses which USA agreed to pay under Coalition Support Fund (CSF) being the Coalition partner on fight against extremists.
It’s a fact that Pakistan alone has deployed more than1,40,000 soldiers as compared to only 50,000 to 60,000 troops operating in Afghanistan for the last 10 years except the period of troops surge. Pakistan has spent a lot but US has not paid reimbursed the money therefore has not honoured its commitments. USA and NATO are using the Pakistan’s Sea port Karachi and land route to transport more than 70% of its supplies to Afghanistan. Out of more than $13billion claims since 2002, only $8.6 billion have been paid and $3.5billioin were taken away for the services, training imparted to Frontier Constabulary (FC) and pay of American trainers and their visits etc. US dollars, 1.8bn are still outstanding, since Jul 2010 no payments have been made. Pakistan can’t coup up the huge expenditure being occurred on fighting the terrorists. America by design got assisted by the NATO and other Coalition partners.
Sectary of Defence Leon Panetta, during his visit to Afghanistan on 9th Jul said “USA is spending $10billion a month in Afghanistan”. After spending the Trillions of dollars the end results are not very encouraging but question of these peanut $8billion given to Pakistan is being raised every now and then. I think the fault is not of the US, our policy makers either didn’t ink the agreements or gave away under pressure. No country alone can tackle or fight the terrorist’s organizations which have spread like an epidemic in the world. Unfortunately Pakistan and Afghanistan were made hubs to fight the Soviets; therefore all these people (Muslims) were welcomed from the world over on the plea of doing Jihad (holy war) and later on abandoned. After 2 May incident, Pakistan took a firm and right stand due to which American presence were significantly cut down. Being the sole super power, the USA often violates the human rights, kills civilians including children and even violates the sovereignty on the pretext of saving Americans which is a dangerous trend. The lives of American citizens must be precious but the life of a citizen of a poor or third world country should be equally precious.
Pakistan has been subjected to sanctions number of time including 11 years in 1990’s. After the Soviet withdrawal, USA walked away and similarly again it is leaving Pakistan high and dry to keep its tradition of entrusted friend. We lost more than $60bn dollars in this war, our economy has been ruined, people are being killed daily due to suicidal or drone attacks but the blame game is still on. Pakistan is being let down intentionally by not sharing the intelligence and by not giving the tools to combat terrorism. New York Time is leveling baseless allegations without quoting the sources as it did during invasion of Iraq and later on had to apologize. A prominent Kashmiri leader Dr Fai has been arrested on the bogus charges of having links with ISI. This appears to be a move to please the Indians. All guns are being directed against Pakistan not only by US but the Indian and western media also. Indian External Affair Minister Kirishna welcomed the decision as it always tries to have the hegemony in the region. Now USA is strengthening its new love with nuclear deals, sale of sophisticated weapons and opening of more than a dozen consulates to check China and Pakistan. Hillary recent visit to India was for the same purpose. The need of the hour is that US must understand the ground realities and national interests of Pakistan. Pakistan’s hands are already full, maximum forces are conducting operations to combat the extremism and as army spoke person said, “We will continue our operations to get rid of the menace of terrorism”. Instead of appreciating its efforts, Admiral Mike Mullen said that Pakistani security services may have sanctioned the killing of journalist Saleem Shahzad. Similarly advancing the blame game, the US Defence Secretary said that Zawahri could be in Pakistan, if that’s true then US must provide the intelligence not the allegations so that actions could be taken. US Chief of Staff Bill Daley acknowledging Pakistan’s role said, “Pakistan is an important alloy in the fight on terrorism. They’ve been the victim of enormous amounts of terrorism” and on the other hand Carnege Endowment expert Mr Perkovich hailed the stoppage of aid and said, “We’ve been trying for many years to get, persuade, push the Pakistani Army to conduct military operations, especially in North Waziristan”. These contradictory statements show the American mind set. The fact is that Pakistani forces killed and captured hundreds of terrorists but do more mantra is continuing. Having all the resources of the world at their disposal and so called best forces (US & NATO) available they could not achieve any miracle in Afghanistan but want Pakistan to do everything for them. These terrorists were regarded as mujahidin but were abandoned after the job well-done. Pakistan was similarly left alone to deal with these people who have now become the monster. No attack took place in US or western countries after 9/11 or 7/7 but terrorist’s attacks are a daily routine in Pakistan.
The decision was also expected as USA is preparing to pull out from Afghanistan. The opportunity must be taken by Pakistan not to weaken but strengthen the resolve to root out the menace of terrorism due to which Pakistan is burning. The founder of Pakistan Quaid e Azam’s saying, Work, Work and Work should be a beacon of light for all of us. To withdraw from Afghanistan US is throwing the mess on Pakistan. In an article An unlikely pair, published in Guardian, Elizabeth Kolsky wrote that when it comes to US foreign aid, Pakistan and Israel should just say no, while there is much to be lost in dollar terms, there might be more gained from a peace dividend that would allow all people greater opportunity, an end to war and the possibility of living without fear. The Americans normally complain that Pakistani don’t like them is somewhat true but is US is sincere with Pakistanis is a billion dollars question. If we review the history of Pak – US checkered relations then we will come to know that America always gave Pakistan the fish and not the fishing rod. There is not even a single mega project established by USA for the people of Pakistan, where as even Soviet Union with whom Pakistan did not enjoyed good relations being US ally built the Steel Mill. Japan invested in automobile industry and it’s China who is always helping Pakistan in its pursuit of self reliance. The money provided by USA is normally used for the purchase of arms and ammunition or training by the Americans; hence it goes back to them because their economy is running on the war material producing factories. Similarly, US is not comfortable with Iran – Pakistan gas pipe line and civil nuclear assistance from China to overcome the devastating energy crises. Actions speak louder than words, so seeing this entire, how people can believe that America is our well wisher. As Henry Kissinger wrote that enmity of USA is bad but friendship is dangerous is proving correct.
The friendly relations can be maintained without aid because then both countries would be on equal footing. Let us take this opportunity to strengthen our self, stand on own feet and to decide ourselves that what is right or wrong for the country. The dictation from US and West should be stopped. We have survived from the sanctions in the past and will come out with flying colours, if we get united to protect the sovereignty of Pakistan, use own resources judiciously and above all control the corruption. The way forward is that both countries be sincere to each other, if we have to fight the common enemy. If America is genuinely keen to see a stable and prosperous Pakistan then it had to shun the role of master, avoid playing the double game and take a step forward, the Pakistani would reciprocate more than that. Choice is open.