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Rulers Losing The Chance

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Just think why a mother would agree to give her son or daughter to terrorists to be used in suicide attacks. Believe me, there is extreme poverty in this land of the pure. The corrupt government officials have been fleecing the annocent people. The corruption of these people has given rise to terrorism.

President Musharraf still has a chance of success. If he sincerely hit the target in the war on terrorism then there will be no terrorism in this country. The rulers of this country are enjoying the support of their masters in the United States and have always deceived their own people, as well as the entire world. But now they have been exposed. Still, they have the chance of survival if they show sincerity.

According to a political writer Syed Mohammad Ali: Being a developing country heavily dependent on international aid, no ruling government in Pakistan can hope to survive long without support of the donor community. Major donors to Pakistan also realise this fact and have often used their aid to the country for overtly political purposes.

The decision of the current government to help fight against terrorism has brought it immense dividends in the form of multilateral and bilateral financial support, which had dwindled significantly over the past decade, particularly when Pakistan decided to go nuclear.

The sudden declaration of a state of emergency in the country last week, however, has again got the international community mulling over its generous aid flows to Pakistan since it decided to help the US coalition.

Most multilateral and bilateral agencies have expressed their concern about the ongoing crisis in the country and many of them have simultaneously begun reconsidering their ongoing aid commitments to the present government.



Pakistan’s leading trading partner, the 27-nation European Union, has deliberated upon possible cuts in aid. While decisions on possible sanctions against Pakistan need to be taken by individual EU governments, the EU is reconsidering its own $72 million aid program for Pakistan. Yet an official EU spokesperson in Brussels has been quick to point out that that this money goes to promote human rights, education and independent nongovernmental organisations rather than supporting the current government.

On the other hand, the response of some bilateral donors seems more stringent. The Dutch government decided early last week to suspend the remainder of the $22 million it was to give to Pakistan this year for water, environmental and educational programs. While most of these funds have already been transferred, the Dutch government intends to freeze all of the $58 million it was planning to give Pakistan next year if the current impasse is not resolved. The German Development Ministry too is reconsidering funding projects in areas such as energy development, but other efforts aimed at the advancement of civil society are still planned to continue, even as things stand.

The UK too has warned that the current crisis will impact its aid flows to Pakistan. Besides debating the possibility of again suspending Pakistan from the 53 country grouping of Commonwealth nations during this week in London, the UK is threatening to withhold its 480 million pounds commitment to Pakistan, payable over the next three years.

Certainly the curtailment of aid from these countries, as well as suspension form groupings like the Commonwealth, would be a major setback for Pakistan. What would really cause problems for the present government is if the US were to become more punitive as well.

However, the US administration has told Congress that while it urges democratic rule in Pakistan, it will resist calls for aid cut following the proclamation of the state of emergency, which has amounted to nearly $10 billion since 2001.

There is however a growing consensus within the US to condition security assistance to Pakistan on performance. In January 2007, the democrat dominated House of Representatives has acted to impose conditions on aid to Pakistan under recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. While the US aid is now governed by numerous legislative requirements, presidential waivers can exempt Pakistan from aid restrictions for now. Thus while the official review of aid to Pakistan, prompted after the imposition of a state of emergency is not yet finalised, there does not yet seem to be any statutory compulsions on the current US administration to cut aid in the immediate future. This does not mean, however, that aid to Pakistan will not be cut, especially as a new administration comes into power after the US elections.

At the moment, at least, US seems reluctant to turn its back on a nuclear-armed government that is also its key ally in the ‘fight against terror’. But there is an accompanying fear that if the majority in the country is denied a voice in the system, though the electoral process, more politicians will be forced to make common cause with fundamentalists, like the Shah’s opponents did in Iran some three decades ago. These are fears being reiterated by US policymakers themselves. To avert this sort of a scenario, there is a growing realisation that the US must learn to engage more intensively with the Pakistani people, not merely with its ruling elites. But there is little evidence of this having happened over the past fifty years that the US has been providing aid to the country. It even didn’t happen during the time Pakistan helped the US in its proxy war during the 1980s, nor is it happening right now.

Unfortunately, the relationship between the US and Pakistan has largely remained motivated by the imperative to the exchange aid for services. A significant portion of this aid has thus been in the form of military rather then human development support. Even US favoured development frameworks, like structural adjustment, have also used growth-led models of development, which often increase disparity in society. The increasing compulsion of oversight may perhaps bring about a change in US aid policies towards Pakistan. Senator Biden, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has said that he will push for suspending sales of major weapons systems to Pakistan and instead call for a tripling of non-security aid.

At their end, the rulers of Pakistan also need to realise that grandiose imported models of development cannot work when the international funding for them dries up. Development of our nation must be a home-grown and self-sustaining phenomenon, which cannot fluctuate in accordance to our relevance within the international community.

Foreign aid provided under the imperative of furthering strategic interests does not exclusively aim to ensure that sustainable development roots in our country. Yet social sector spending shrivels up every time the US decides that our country is no longer of significance, and the entire nation then has to wait for a geo-political shift to make Pakistan seem worth aiding again.
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Muhammad Khurshid, a resident of Bajaur Agency, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border is journalist by profession. He contributes articles and news stories to various online and print newspapers. His subject matter is terrorism. He is also (more...)
 
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