$7.5 bn aid to Pak runs into serious trouble: Rpt

US and Pak touted the package as a way to reset relations long centred on military ties.

Washington: The whopping USD 7.5 billion
American aid to Pakistan has run into serious trouble as only
a fraction could be spent due to differences in priorities,
even as remaining money is under scrutiny.

In 2009, Congress passed with fanfare the five-year aid
plan intended to prove Washington`s long-term commitment to
Pakistan`s weak civilian government.

Both countries touted the package as a way to reset
relations long centred on military ties.

But two years later only USD 500 million has been spent
as the programme has run into bureaucratic delays,
disagreements over priorities and fears about corruption.

Now the remainder of the funding is under scrutiny in the
Republican-led House where two panels have approved broad cuts
in foreign aid and stringent conditions on assistance to a
number of countries, including Pakistan, the Washington Post

Although the Obama administration is fighting the cuts,
US officials say they expect lawmakers to shrink the aid
package while requiring greater evidence that Pakistan is
fighting terrorism and that the funding is reaping benefits.

The debate over civilian aid has transformed it from a
potential tool for healing the deep rift between the United
States and Pakistan to yet another flash point in a
relationship that has reached new lows in the three months
since US Navy SEALs killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden
in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.


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