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A review on the cards?

18 0 9

Lets cast our minds to a few years back. It’s the mid of 2008 and the PPP supremo, Asif Zardari, has set his eyes on occupying the highest office of the land.

He has the numbers but a fly in the ointment is how to persuade the Americans to acquiesce in throwing overboard the incumbent president, General Pervez Musharraf, with whom they have been rubbing shoulders for the past six years. Zardari has already appointed a US-based adroit ‘spin doctor’ as Islamabad’s top diplomat in Washington. The hectic lobbying has paid off and the Americans have been made to believe that only with the PPP leader at the helm can Pakistan measure up to the US’s counterterrorism standards.

Come next year, that is 2009, the US Congress enacts the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act (the Kerry-Lugar-Berman law), which ensures an annual aid of $1.5 billion, along with an unspecified amount for security related assistance, to Pakistan, from 2010 to 2014. In return, Pakistan is required to demonstrate its commitment to fight extremism, terrorism and proliferation of nuclear weapons – the major items on Washington’s foreign policy agenda.

Not only that, the Act also stipulates the strengthening of democracy in Pakistan, ‘non-interference’ of non-representative institutions in political matters and civilian control over military affairs as preconditions for uninterrupted capital inflows from the US. These provisions raise the hackles of the security establishment. However, Islamabad finally accepts the aid – with all strings attached.

This chapter from our recent past brings to light the political economy of the US aid to Pakistan in recent years. The US knows for a fact that a capital deficient country like Pakistan placed in a challenging geostrategic environment is badly in need of foreign assistance, not........

© The News International