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US Administration Wasting People's Money

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The United States administration has been deceiving its own citizens regarding the amount of funds allocated for Pakistan, which it has been handing over for the "welfare of tribesmen" living on Pak-Afghan border.  However, it is uncertain if these dollars ever get past the Pakistani rulers, ever reaching those in need.  

Senior representatives of the US and Pakistan signed on Sunday a $750-million, five-year agreement for American assistance in the development of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), with $105 million to be provided this year, a US Embassy press release said.

“The US government, on behalf of the American people, understands the importance of delivering resources quickly and effectively to bring essential services to the people of the FATA,” US Agency for International Development (USAID) Pakistan Mission Director Anne Aarnes said after signing the bilateral agreement with Economic Affairs Secretary M Akram Malik.

The agreement will be used to support capacity building, livelihood, agriculture, enterprises, healthcare, education and infrastructure development programmes in FATA.

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In the press release one thing was particularly mentioned that this amount is on behalf of American people for the people of tribal areas. Most of the tribesmen are not agreeing with this sentence as according to them, this amount is from the US administration for the government of Pakistan.

Pakistan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Presently it is itself at war so paying money to it  means wasting it. According to a comment of leading newspaper, if there were any administrators of girls’ schools in Swat that were refusing to give into militants’ demands of forcing students to don the veil, the bombing of two schools on Saturday night is bound to change their minds. The more the matter is ignored by the government, the higher the stakes are raised. From bombing all things seen as ‘un-Islamic’ to beheadings, most recently — and shockingly — of women, two in the first week of September in Bannu and one on Friday in Bajaur, militants are proving how committed they are in enforcing their version of Islam. Against this backdrop, one sympathises with school administrators who gave into the threats when they were received and asked girls to don the veil. They did so out of fear than religious compulsion. After all someone has to protect the students because the government has all but relinquished its responsibility of providing security to all citizens. These threats have been happening all throughout the year but have never been taken seriously, other than the mandatory provision of security around the school buildings which clearly does not act as a deterrent. Instead, deals have been struck with the very people who issue such threats — like Maulana Fazlullah — in the hope that the attacks will cease. There has been ample proof to show otherwise.

But what will the government do to respond to the increase in attacks in Swat on internet cafes, music and video shops, salons and schools in the past week? Or the threat posed to historic cultural relics such as the rock which has a Buddha carved on it near Mingora and has been bombed at least twice by militants? So far it has set up three checkpoints in ‘sensitive’ places to be manned by police and army personnel, as if this is going to scare the militants into a retreat. The government has given in several times to militants’ demands and received no concessions in return so it will be futile to engage them in another round of talks — unless the discussions focus on the government establishing its writ. This is crucial and should be non-negotiable. Anyone who takes the law into his own hands must be held accountable. No one has the right to deny girls the right to an education.
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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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