Pakistan Takes a Hard Look at U.S. Aid

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The United States Congress wants to triple the amount of aid it gives to Pakistan. But there's controversy in Pakistan's Parliament about the $1.5 billion annually Pakistan would receive from America, especially about the terms the U.S. has attached to its aid. In a statement Wednesday, the Pakistani military said the conditions may violate Pakistan's sovereignty.

The aid America wants to give Pakistan would have to be used for democratic, economic and social development programs over the next five years. Some of the funds may also be used for Pakistani military operations.

Pakistan's Parliament will debate today whether terms of the bill are in its best interests. Controversial line items in the bill include that Pakistan can not help fight "terrorists", including Taliban and al Qaeda members taking sanctuary on the Afghan border, or it will lose its aid.

"In principle, most of the things they say are not bad ... but actually it's a question of national dignity," Talat Masood, a retired general and security analyst, told Reuters. "It appears as if they are dictating foreign, security and domestic policies."

The bill, which was co-authored by Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar, has support from the American-allied civilan administration in Islamabad.

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