Pak got $30 bn from US after 1948; 2/3 post 9/11

Last Updated: Saturday, June 11, 2011 - 10:26

Washington: As the US lawmakers are contemplating the feasibility of massive aid to Pakistan in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden killing, a Congressional report has informed them that since 1948 Islamabad has got over USD 30 billion aid from America, two third of which came after 9/1 attacks.

"Some question the gains from the aid, saying there is a lack of accountability and reform by the Pakistani government, and any goodwill generated by it is offset by widespread anti-American sentiment among the Pakistani people," Congressional Research Service (CRS) informed members of the Congress in a 47-page internal report this week.

The report says that Pakistan has been among the leading recipients of US foreign assistance both historically and in FY2010, and most experts list the country among the most strategically important for US policy makers.

"Recent major developments, including the killing of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, have put strains on bilateral relations, making uncertain the future direction of US aid to Pakistan," it said.

"For many lawmakers, the issue will be how to balance considerations about Pakistan`s strategic importance to the United States with the pervasive and mounting distrust in the US-Pakistan relationship and with budget deficit-reduction pressures," the report said.

"Given the current budgetary constraints facing the United States and the recent strained relationship, the 112th Congress may question the return on such large investments in Pakistan, the second largest US aid recipient," it said.

"Lawmakers will seek the right balance between US aid expenditures to promote US national security interests in Pakistan and the region versus belt-tightening foreign aid cuts and accountability measures to address the lack of trust between the two governments," the CRS said.

For the fiscal 2012, the Obama administration has requested the Congress USD 2.965 billion for aid to Pakistan.

This is in addition to USD 1.75 billion in Pentagon funding to reimburse coalition partners for logistical and operational support of US-led military operations worldwide.

Pakistan has in the past received more than three-fourths of such funds for its support related to US efforts in Afghanistan, it said.

On May 03, HR 1699, the Pakistan Foreign Aid Accountability Act, was introduced in the House and referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The act would prohibit future foreign assistance to Pakistan unless the Secretary of State certifies that the Pakistani government was not complicit in hiding bin Laden (to date, the bill has not emerged from committee).

In the wake of bin Laden`s death and increasing acrimony between the US and Pak governments, congressional scrutiny of the relationship and bilateral aid program intensified.

Some in Congress appear to favour scaling back development aid to focus US resources on combating Islamist terrorism and militancy.

Others maintain that strengthening Pakistan`s civilian government is a key means to ensuring a positive, long-term relationship with that country, it said.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, June 11, 2011 - 10:26

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