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Category — Ayub Khan

Great American failure: op-ed in The News, Oct 11

By Dr Farrukh Saleem
The writer is the executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies

Over the past seven years, direct overt US aid and military reimbursements to Pakistan stand at a colossal $15.449 billion. Of the total, $10.941 billion was security-related and $4.598 billion economic-related. America’s economic-related assistance has been under the following seven categories:

1. Economic Support Funds (ESF) totalled a massive $3,488 billion under which the US Congress ‘authorised Pakistan to use allocations to cancel a total of about $1.5 billion in concessional debt to the US government’. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, $200 million per year was transferred into Pakistan’s account — in cash — for Pakistan’s budgetary support. 2. Development Assistance (DA) amounting to $286 million. 3. International Disaster Assistance (IDA) amounted to a huge $225 million that –supposedly — went into the 2005 Kashmir Earthquake plus relief for Pakistan’s internally displaced persons. 4. Food Aid of $220 million. 5. Child Survival and Health (CSH) $185 million. 6. Human Rights and Democracy $17 million. 7. Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) $17 million.

To begin with, $4.598 billion economic-related assistance converts to Rs360 billion or Rs2,000 for each and every Pakistani man, woman and child alive. Where has all that gone? Can anyone put together a list of just 2,000 Pakistani men who would acknowledge to having been economically benefited from America’s economic-related assistance?

Next, development assistance of $286 million means Rs23 billion — enough to generate 300 MW of electricity. What has America developed? IDA Rs18 billion, that’s huge. The earthquake had left 3.3 million Pakistanis homeless and Rs18 billion means Rs5,500 for each and every homeless. Can anyone collect a mere 5,000 earthquake affected Pakistanis who would admit to American assistance? Next, food aid. Food aid from America is nearly Rs18 billion and that means Rs100 for each and every Pakistan or Rs500 for each and every Pakistani family. There’s a sugar crisis and a wheat crisis. Does anyone see the $220 million making any visible impact on the lives of real Pakistanis desperately seeking sugar and wheat on the streets of Pakistan?

Next, America’s child survival and health spending in Pakistan — a huge $185 million but nothing to show for it. Imagine; the government of Japan gave Islamabad a 230-bed children’s hospital. Imagine; the government of Japan touches the hearts of 400 a day in the outpatient department plus daily average admissions in inpatient department of 30 plus daily average surgical procedures of 15 plus accident and emergency of an additional 100 per day. Where is Uncle Sam?

At the foothills of Margalla, there is a Japanese park. Then there is Argentine park right next to Federal Government Services Hospital that caters to some 7,000 patients per day. The Chinese built the Karakoram, from Hasan Abdal to Kashgar. But, the Americans have always remained confined to their embassy complex. For the record, 80 million Pakistanis are “unable to secure an adequate nutritional intake” and 80 million are illiterate. Imagine; a mere two per cent of American aid has gone into education. Imagine; a wholesome $4.598 billion has been spent over the past seven years but there’s absolutely nothing to show for it.

Now that America firmed up its resolve to touch the hearts of poor Pakistanis — through the Kerry-Lugar Aid Package — the elites are feeling left-off. For the first time, in the 60-year history of US-Pakistan relations America wants to build hospitals and schools. For the first time, in the 60-year history of US-Pakistan relations America wants to give to Pakistan’s civil society. And, the civil-military elite are feeling left-off. America’s direct overt aid remains invisible, concealed, covert and unseen — all in one. Is this the great American failure in Pakistan — did America fail to plan in Pakistan or did it plan to fail? http://www.thenews.com.pk/editorial_detail.asp?id=202682

October 11, 2009   No Comments

Army Calling Shots In Pakistan

By Man Mohan Kaul
If there are any doubts about who is calling the shots in Pakistan, here is further evidence that says that the Army does it.

The Pakistan Army has made it clear to the country’s Parliament. lt that cannot withdraw its forces from its present location. The context here is clearly the Indian border.

The Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, said at an in-camera briefing to MPs on May 15 that the Army cannot be withdrawn from its locations of covering the expected attack routes on the border with India.

Specifically, he told the MPs that the Army would not mount its operations as per the diktats and preferences of any outside force.

The context here is very clear: US President Barack Obama impressed upon President Asif Ali Zardari when the two met early in May that Pakistan Army should withdraw its forces from the relatively peaceful border and re-deploy its personnel and equipment in the current fight against the Taliban.

Zardari responded by agreeing to it in principle and later said while interacting with the American that some units had actually been shifted.

But he spoke too early and Kayani has all but vetoed the move.

Only one newspaper carried the story that was probably an official leak from the Army General Headquarters. No one is prepared to vouch whether the account is accurate but Pakistan watchers are confident that this was a report based on the briefing Kiani gave the lawmakers.

It was about the four-hour in-camera briefing. Had the Army taken a decision and was the Parliament being simply informed? This remains a matter of conjecture. .

Either way, it reflects the thinking of the Pakistan Army and the lawmakers were being told who is the real boss when it comes to matters pertaining to national security and that too, where India is involved.

If there is a formal decision by the Army, no announcement was made: perhaps it was not found necessary. The Army simply let its mind be known and did not want the fledgling civilian government to take the diplomatic rap from the Obama Administration.

Here, one is not even speculating on the angry Indian reaction despite the preoccupation with the elections and formation of a new government.

The Pakistan Army is upset that the Americans have been trying hard in their Afghan-Pak thinking to make Pakistan withdraw the bulk of its Army from positions of confronting India to its western borders where the Taliban trouble is still going strong.

What is clear is that Pakistan Army is simply not willing to withdraw from positions of checkmating Indian military forces.

On the other hand, it plans to up its ante on the border with India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, to tell the Americans that their assessment of the situation on the Indo-Pak border is grossly inadequate and ill-informed.

The next question arises whether Pakistan would continue to resist American pressures to relieve the bulk of its troops to serve on its northwestern frontier.

This remains a billion dollar question, literally and figuratively, since the US is bending backwards to salvage the sinking Pakistani economy and fund its defence acquisitions in the name of fighting the Taliban.

One assessment is that the US has also prodded the other NATOP nations and Japan to pool in a whopping $ 23 billion over the next five years.

But Obama Administration and the US/Nato concerns and efforts are a present-day developments, while Pakistan’s struggle to maintain its identity that it fears could be obliterated by India is as old as its own life.

It does not require Kiani to spell it out and the Pakistani lawmakers to understand and appreciate that Pakistan’s very existence has depended upon opposing India.

The very emergence of Pakistan was because its founding father felt convinced that Muslims could not live in a Hindu-dominated India.

It needs recalling here that Pakistan in its very first year of existence devoted some 43 per cent of its budget to defence. It was meant in Muslim League government’s thinking that it would prevent Pakistan from being gobbled up by India.

But that set the benchmark. High defence spending aimed at defending Pakistan against Indian threat, real or perceived, has been the story of Pakistan for the last six decades. This is now almost an article of faith for all conservative sections. To move away would be such a radical shift in Pakistan policy that it is hard to imagine it can ever be agreed to.

The Americans are recommending such a radical departure from traditional Pakistani view that has congealed into an ideology. The conservative political class – the whole of it, actually — does think that India is an existential and permanent threat to Pakistan.

To move away from the original is now too hard an exercise. No regime in Pakistan – military, civilian, quasi-civilian-quasi-military – not to speak of the liberals and the once-influential socialists, ever could deny the demands of the country’s armed forces. Everything is just brushed aside when it comes to “defendant of the nation”, particularly when this ‘defence’ is enmeshed with the “defence of Islam,” and “Kashmir”

Pakistan joined, willy-nilly under Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the global war against terrorism, doing a complete U-turn in the support the Taliban rulers of Kabul. But decades before that, Pakistan had joined the West-led military alliances that were meant to counter the communists who ruled Russia.

That Pakistan has managed to sup with the Chinese since the 1960s, and that china remains a communist nation that the US and the West view with concern is a different story altogether.

Pakistan agreed to join the west in lieu of military and some economic aid. The Americans were clear headed. They had made it plain from day one that their aid is not to be used against India. But did that ever happen?

When he launched his misadventure in 1965, its grandiose name was “Operation Gibraltar”, Ayub Khan believed that the America who not do much beyond shouting and protesting if Pakistan used its aided equipment against India

He did use it in 1965 war and the Americans were, expectedly, angry. They imposed sanctions on Pakistan; aid was suspended for some years.

But the Americans always knew that Pakistan would do such a thing when needed. They showed their anger more for the record than actual punishment of Pakistan. It was more to please India. Later America relented and the aid was resumed.

New sanctions were imposed on Pakistan and were fairly quickly lifted each time Pakistan used the American-supplied military hardware against India.

The situation is no different and all concerned – the Pakistanis, the Americans and even the Indians – know it. The Indian dismay at the Obama Administration’s Af-Pak policy is precisely on this ground. Only, in the more complex situation that develops in the new century, it finds open protests against the US and the West counter-productive.

Pakistan and its Army cannot possibly annoy Americans in any big way. Without American aid Pakistan Army cannot be sustained. It now requires anything from $ 500 million to 1 billion a year in foreign exchange.

This is only consideration. There are others: Can Pakistan say no to what Americans may insist on? Can Pakistan sustain a policy of defiance to America? It is easier said in a conference or in a briefing.

Some political posturing is permissible by the donors but not in terms of fundamental choices. And this is precisely the message conveyed through Kayani’s briefing to the country’s lawmakers.

Kayani’s message is: If Pakistan Army is expected to take its forces off the Indian border, then why have the Army at all? Taliban, or for that matter, even Al Qaida, are recent phenomena and will come and go. India will still be around to “gobble up” Pakistan

June 26, 2009   No Comments