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U.S. aid package to Pakistan meets with disapproval (in Pakistan)

with 3 comments

Last week, the Kerry-Lugar Pakistan aid bill was passed by congress. The bill will grant $1.5 billion a year to the civilian-side of Pakistan’s government over the next 5 years.  Conditional to the aid package, Pakistan must meet certification requirements that would focus on Pakistan’s counter-terrorism/insurgency goals, while also increasing America’s embassy presence.

Conditions embedded in the bill have angered Pakistan’s military, but can the U.S. actually measure if the conditions are being met?

Here are the certification requirements (conditions) as per Sec. 203, sub-section (c) of the bill:

The certification required by this subsection is a certification by the Secretary of State, under the direction of the President, to the appropriate congressional committees that—(1) the Government of Pakistan is continuing to cooperate with the United States in efforts to dismantle supplier networks relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons-related materials, such as providing relevant information from or direct access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks; (2) the Government of Pakistan during the preceding fiscal year has demonstrated a sustained commitment to and is making significant efforts towards combating terrorist groups, consistent with the purposes of assistance described in section 201, including taking into account the extent to which the Government of Pakistan has made progress on matters such as— (A) ceasing support, including by any elements within the Pakistan military or its intelligence agency, to extremist and terrorist groups, particularly to any group that has conducted attacks against United States or coalition forces in Afghanistan, or against the territory or people of neighboring countries;

(B) preventing al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e- Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, from operating in the territory of Pakistan, including carrying out cross-border attacks into neighboring countries, closing terrorist camps in the FATA, dismantling terrorist bases of operations in other parts of the country, including Quetta and Muridke, and taking action when provided with intelligence about high-level terrorist targets; and

(C) strengthening counterterrorism and anti-money laundering laws; and (3) the security forces of Pakistan are not materially and substantially subverting the political or judicial processes of Pakistan.

(Emphasis added, with a focus on the last sentence)

Pakistan’s military has organized its objections to the bill, seeing within it a concerted effort by the U.S. Congress to influence Pakistan’s internal affairs.  Of special note to Pakistan’s military is the last conditionality of the bill (stated above), which reads “the security forces of Pakistan are not materially or substantially subverting the political or judicial processes of Pakistan.”  But this is not a concrete and measurable requirement.

Putting aside the military’s complaints, it remains to be seen how the U.S. could actually measure its own certification requirements.  Besides this, there really is nothing in the wording of this bill that hasn’t been accepted either tacitly or outright by Pakistan already.

To think Pakistan would refuse $7.5 billion in aid over principle is possible but, in reality, why would they refuse the aid package if the U.S. cannot effectively measure Pakistan’s level of compliance.

This post was re-posted at Fletcher Reflections.


3 Responses

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  1. I definitely agree with your last point on the lack of an effective instrument to measure the level of compliance. Without such instruments, it is most likely that aid might end up being “lost” in some new F-16 fighters jets or villas for army generals like it happened about a year ago (
    The problem with aid is its diminishing return: it seems that the more you increase it, the less you get for the $ spent. US should use aid as an incentive for proven policy improvement instead of writing blank cheques.

    Andreea Zugravu

    October 6, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    • The Fletcher School’s very own Terrorism/Counterterrorism professor, Timothy Hoyt, summarizes quite well what you say about Pakistan converting civilian aid money into military acquisitions.

      Over at Foreign Policy, Prof Hoyt says the following: “the Army leadership knows quite well that money is fungible, and that U.S. economic assistance frees up money in the domestic economy that can then be used for military purposes if necessary. And yet Army leadership still launches a series of attacks, complaining about U.S. interference and misunderstanding, and implicitly accuses the civilian government of endangering national security (and, possibly, suggesting a military willingness to intervene if it doesn’t get its way).”


      October 14, 2009 at 4:08 pm

  2. […] the post, Bhutto blusters over the controversial Kerry-Lugar aid package and Clinton’s cordial relationship with President […]

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