Pak Govt worried over misuse of US aid by Army: Cables

Last Updated: Thursday, May 26, 2011 - 18:24

Islamabad: Pakistan`s civilian government
complained to the US that it was being kept in the dark about
American funding to the military and that money provided for
the war on terror had been used for other purposes, according
to secret US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

The cables, provided by WikiLeaks to Dawn newspaper,
disclose there was tension between Pakistan`s civilian
government and the powerful army over the use of funds
provided for counter-insurgency operations.

According to one cable, then Finance Minister Shaukat
Tarin asked former US Ambassador Anne Patterson during a
November 2009 meeting "to keep him informed of funds the US
directs to the Pakistani military".

Tarin said he would not reduce the military?s budget
based on US assistance flows but made it clear that his
ministry "needs to be kept aware for overall budgeting
purposes".

Tarin complained to the US envoy that army chief Gen
Ashfaq Parvez Kayani "does not pass on this information".

In another meeting in September 2009, Patterson said
the US had purchased equipment worth USD 370 million for the
military through its Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability
Fund but Tarin said he was "unaware of this".

Tarin said he "would work to see that the purchases of
these items were removed from the army`s capital budget".

During the November 2009 meeting, Tarin provided
figures to prove that the majority of allocations from the US
Coalition Support Fund - money provided to reimburse
Pakistan’s expenses in the war on terror - had not been used
for counter-insurgency purposes or for the military, a cable
revealed.

These funds had been given to the regime of former
military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

Tarin said a detailed analysis by the finance ministry
had "concluded that, of the total of USD 6.6 billion the US
had provided to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund,
only some USD 250 million had actually gone to the Pakistani
army under President Musharraf; the rest had gone into the
regular budget, protestations by the then-government to the
contrary notwithstanding".

Previously released cables have revealed US concerns
about possibly inflated CSF claims by the Pakistan Army and a
new cable revealed that the US feared the civilian government
that succeeded Musharraf would continue to use the CSF for
budgetary support.

"The temptation for the new coalition government to
tap CSF for non-military purposes will be high; if we are
going to consider ways to improve the implementing mechanisms
of CSF, the time to act is now," said a diplomatic cable sent
in March 2008 just after the last general election.

"The new coalition government will be seeking new
sources of revenue to pay for social programmes promised in
the campaign; the large military budget and the CSF payments
will be a tempting target to mine," it said.

On the other hand, the Pakistan People’s Party-led
government expressed mistrust about the army`s use of CSF
funds.

"The Pakistan People`s Party (PPP) finance expert,
Syed Naveed Qamar...expressed scepticism of the military’s CSF
claims and asked the US to increase oversight and ensure that
`claims were not over-inflated or siphoned off into private
coffers`," said a cable.

A senior PML-N leader too "expressed his conviction
that the military budget should be more transparent and
subject to parliamentary scrutiny".

PTI



First Published: Thursday, May 26, 2011 - 18:24

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