Thursday, 15 October 2009

AID or Investment: Kerry – Lugar Bill and Pak – US Relationship

Kerry Lugar Bill is nothing but another aid package from USA to Pakistan. However, this should not spend a penny out of it. This time it is different because of the relative independent media and better awareness of the nation on security issues of Pakistan. I would vote for democracy as well as media (hats off to both) who made this possible. Credit goes to Musharraf as well because the media got independence in his era, even though he was a dictator but quite a liberal person.

People are literally talking about the sovereignty of the country. Why? Because USA tried to make sure that none of the aid will be spend on army and other security forces. Interestingly, even then they are expecting that the army will continue their operations against the Talibans and Al-Qaeda and Pakistan Government will continue their support against war on terror with the help of Army and other security agencies. Remember this war was not ours and it was asked by USA is 2001 to support them and we’ve spent $35B+ (America claims that they gave $15B to Pakistan which includes the resnt for the barracks they used in Pakistan) on this war (according to the Government of Pakistan) and now it becomes the war of our existence. Now we are becoming target of those who were targeting Americans in the start. No doubt when the bill was made by Biden and Lugar initially and called it the Aid for civilians only, it sounds great but why do we need such clauses in the bill which shows that they do not trust Pakistani government and Pakistani army that it will be spend on what it is given for. More importantly why there is a need for “c(1) The government of Pakistan is continuing to cooperate with the united states in efforts to dismantle supplier relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons – related materials, such as providing relevant information form or direct access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks”.

Moreover, it is a clear cut open dictation to the Government of Pakistan when they say that they can waive the limitations applied on the army if there is a need but it has to go through from secretary of state under the orders of President of USA. What is this crap? This implies that Obama (US President) is a deciding that, money they are giving to us, how should be the money spend one each thing. So, he is a budget maker for the aid they are giving it to us.

I can think of only one thing right now. Do we need $1.5B per year with a huge balance of payments deficit? Do we need $1.5B only as an aid with so much clauses and restrictions? My answer is NO. I have two reasons;

1. If America is very very very interested in developing the better social sector of Pakistan such as schools and health, then why doesn’t she invest in the education and health sector in Pakistan? Even after giving aid they would send their consultants to study the appropriate areas of investing who will take away 20 percent of the aid. Why don’t they conduct that study on their own and then investment for the civilians? In that way they’ll have transparency and accountability. Greg Mortensson is one of those examples who build several schools in Pakistan.

2. Does aid is better than investment and the answer is again NO. When Mansha said that I’ll bring more investment in Pakistan than you are getting aid from this Kerry – Lugar Bill. Why don’t we want to give a chance to local person who is trying to do something? Though as an researcher I know that as an industrialists he’ll ask for several incentives but those would be better than the clauses of Kerry – Lugar Bill. May be after twenty years these industrialists will be counted among Gates, Ambani and Tata.

Everything above may or may not be very correct but after writing all this I am thinking that the congress of US has made something with “great sincerity” after consulting the administration of Pakistan and Lobbyists of Pakistan in the US and now Pakistani people are rejecting the bill. This will might hinders the relationship of Pakistan with US. However, as Kerry said we can amend it no problem so let’s do it.

It’s time now we should think first and then deliver, rather than deliver and then think. Thought at least we’ve started thinking.