US lawmakers call for accountability in aid to Pak

US lawmakers sought increased accountability and transparency in American aid to Pakistan.

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2010, 21:25 PM IST

Washington: US lawmakers today sought
increased accountability and transparency in American aid to
Pakistan, amid concerns over misuse of financial grants to the
country.

Pakistan must initiate and enable cooperation between
our the two governments to maximise the impact of these
resources, as well as create a sustainable environment for
economic development, said Richard Lugar, a ranking member of
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The US aid to Pakistan is not a one-sided effort,
Lugar said at the confirmation hearing on nomination of
Cameron Munter as the new US Ambassador to Pakistan.

Lugar said the US should avoid spending for the sake
of spending and make clear to the Pakistani people the
planning and organisation that is going on with the government
at the federal and provincial levels.

Author of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill that gives USD
7.5 billion to Pakistan in five years, Lugar said in view of
the devastating flood in the country, effectiveness through
proper planning and implementation is more important than
speed because the goal is sustainability and a long-term
partnership.

"Initial implementation has proven uncertain and
resources should only follow those efforts that prove
effective. Additional collaboration with Pakistani
institutions is necessary to assure progress," he underlined.

US lawmakers have expressed concerns that widespread
corruption in Pakistan may lead to misuse of the American aid.

"Some Kerry-Lugar-Berman resources may be appropriate
for recovery from the floods, including early recovery, when
there is a well thought-out strategy that is consistent with
the goals and purposes of the legislation," the top
Congressman said.

He said a shift in programming should be considered
and the appropriate Committees notified. "Staff has made clear
that transparency and accountability for Kerry-Lugar-Berman
funding remains an elemental part of the assistance package,"
Lugar said.

Chairing the confirmation hearing, Senator Bob Casey
said through this Kerry-Lugar-Bill investment by the US
taxpayers, Washington seeks to establish partnership between
the citizens of the two countries in order to truly build a
stronger foundation of mutual trust.

"The durability of democratic institutions will be the
long term bulwark against extremism and will allow the
Pakistani people and its vibrant civil society to express its
desires through peaceful democratic means," he said.

The reluctance of the global community to respond to
the UN`s initial appeal for more financial aid has been
attributed to concerns that the foreign governments have about
corruption that may lead to misuse of the grants in Pakistan.

Earlier this week, Pakistan`s Foreign Minister Shah
Mahmood Qureshi assured donor nations that the money sent for
its flood victims will not be wasted, saying the aid would be
"well spent" in a "transparent manner".

PTI