Pakistan’s dire fiscal situation has resulted in the reduction of development spending by 40 per cent. This does not bode well for the citizens who have been tormented by an energy crisis, persistent food inflation and rampant unemployment. In these circumstances, the development assistance under the Kerry-Lugar Bill (KLB) is much needed. Pakistan’s civilian government braved a media onslaught and the ire of the security establishment for tacitly supporting the US legislation. Other than the rhetoric around the ‘conditions’ drafted in Washington, there was an unstated agreement that the development assistance was welcome.
Months have elapsed and Pakistanis have yet to witness the roll out of the KLB. Global recession and political uncertainty at home underlie the tough days for Pakistanis especially the poor. It was expected that given the urgency of the situation, USAID was going to kickstart the delivery of its interventions. Well, the progress so far has been disappointing.
First, there seems to be no public sign of a consensus within the US bureaucratic machine how the aid under KLB will be delivered. Unconfirmed media reports suggest that the political versus the bureaucratic channels are not on the same page. The ‘political’ administration is ostensibly managing USAID systems and processes. There may be strategic reasons for that but the net result is that things are delayed. Not long ago, Pakistani government’s procedures were thought to be a problem but the trajectory of US bureaucracy only proves that public sector ailments are common. Continue reading
Battling Taliban No Excuse for Complicity in Abusive Counter-terrorism Practices
(New York, January 21, 2010) – Pakistan’s military actively undermined the civilian government’s human rights agenda in 2009, Human Rights Watch said today in its new World Report 2010.
The 612-page report, the organization’s 20th annual review of human rights practices around the globe, summarizes major human rights trends in more than 90 nations and territories worldwide.
The report says that Pakistan’s military publicly and privately resisted the government’s reconciliation efforts in the troubled province of Balochistan and attempts to locate people “disappeared” there during General Pervez Musharraf’s military rule. The military also opposed the international community’s attempts to end military intervention in the political and judicial processes through aid conditions.
“The Pakistani military continues to subvert the political and judicial systems in Pakistan,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, senior South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “After eight years of disastrous military rule and in spite of the election of a civilian government, the army appears determined to continue calling the shots in order to ensure that it can continue to perpetrate abuses with impunity.” Continue reading
Filed under Al Qaeda, Army, baluchistan, human rights, Kerry Lugar Bill, Obama, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, violence, war, War On Terror
With pressure mounting on the PPP government and President Zardari at the center of every new political/non political crisis, it appears that the house he built by patching together some crude deals is crumbling faster than a thatched cabin pulverized by a fierce typhoon. The alliance he cobbled together is strained by key defections on some vitally important issues and his party has no clue as to who would stand with the PPP in future battles. Continue reading
Filed under Army, Pakistan
Like everyone else, I too was taken aback by the fierce opposition to the Kerry Lugar bill. Not sure what the fuss is about, I decided to read about it. So, I read everything that was available on-line about the bill. During my research, I realized that the government of Pakistan has done nothing wrong. It is an aid bill, conceived and finalized by a foreign government to help Pakistan. And, there is nothing new in this bill that Pakistan has not seen or dealt with before. Continue reading
By David Ignatius
It’s a classic example of the law of unintended consequences: Congress triples its assistance to Pakistan as part of a deepening strategic relationship. But members of Congress, always eager to tell other countries what to do, insert conditions that Pakistanis find insulting. Continue reading
Yesterday there was a front page report in The News (Sept 13) – “US says no direct money to PPP government,” supposedly based on the briefing by Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew – The claims in the report vary wildly from the transcript of Mr Lew’s briefing, available here – which is actually quite optimistic about Pakistan.
Briefing on Recent Trip to South Asia Jacob J. Lew Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources Washington, DC September 11, 2009 [Pakistan section] And in Pakistan, we focused on a number of issues. I think, as you all know, with the Kerry-Lugar program being worked through now in Congress and the budget process working through, in terms of the appropriations, we’re ready to take the next step and put a detailed program out there that really goes and specifies what forms of assistance will be provided. In the conversations we had with the Pakistani officials – we met with the Prime Minister Gilani, we met with the Finance Minister Tarin – they are very much focused on not just the amount of assistance in Kerry-Lugar, but the fact that it’s a multiyear commitment. They see it as an extremely important statement from the United States that we’re thinking in multiyear terms and thinking about a program that has integrity over a period of time. Continue reading