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Using aid judiciously---DAWN editorial

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    Using aid judiciously---DAWN editorial

    4 billion dollar deal for AWACS, and other expenditures on non-development sectors, and the ppl r going to hell.

    Here is what DAWN to say:

    Using aid judiciously

    The Brussels-based International Crisis Group's warning on the dangers of repeating the mistakes of the past while offering a fresh and enhanced flow of international aid to Pakistan in the aftermath of the September 11 tragedy has not come a day too soon. The ICG is a group of eminent international citizens and foreign policy specialists. Established in 1995, this new organization - wholly independent of any government - proposes, through well considered advice and high-level advocacy, to help governments, international organizations and the world community at large to prevent deadly conflicts, or at least contain these within the narrowest possible bounds.

    The ICG has recently set up a branch office in Pakistan. So far the Group has joined about 10 crisis resolution international efforts in Algeria, the Balkans, Central Asia, Central Africa, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. There is nothing in the ICG report on Pakistan carried by this newspaper on Wednesday with which one can disagree. Pakistan has had a number of bail-out packages in the past and it has also enjoyed generous budgetary support on a number of occasions during the last 50 years or so. But so far no amount of generous aid and no amount of debt relief has been able to get the country out of the socio-economic mess in which it has been mired all these years.

    Every time the world came to Pakistan's help with its billions, the government of the day treated it as a reward for its obedient role in the context of the cold war or for its services in Afghanistan in pushing the Soviets out of that country in the eighties and went on with its profligate ways without the slightest change in its spending habits or in its policy priorities.

    The report hits the nail on the head when, describing the state of affairs in the country, it lists some of the problems that ails Pakistan: a stagnant economy, with intelligence services providing support and sustenance to Islamic extremists for long years, military rule, continuing disputes with India, especially over Kashmir, a collapsed education system and the flight of its professional and technocratic class out of a persistent apprehension of Pakistan being in real danger of slipping more and more into chaos and anarchy. After having warned against repeating the past mistakes and listing out the basic problems facing the country at the present time, the ICG has very rightly called upon the donors to coordinate and deliver their assistance in a way that actually helps secure changes the absence of which, in the opinion of the ICG, have long stood in the way of increased transparency and an agenda for comprehensive reforms.

    Successive governments have indeed kept the nation in the dark while they messed up the country's economy, distorted its foreign policy objectives and undermined its social infrastructure. Also, they have successively avoided meaningful reforms all these years because of the fear that the ruling elite would lose much of their traditional hold on economic and political power as a consequence.

    The Group, therefore, has strongly suggested to the donors that they must secure substantial changes in the country's fiscal structure and help create a new tax culture that underpins a more secure Pakistani state. Again, by advising the donors to help prop up an interim social safety net that can cushion the immediate jolts for the people, particularly in health care and education, as a result of massive economic restructuring, the ICG report has only stated the obvious. Such a safety net would at least keep the social infrastructure, or whatever of it we have here, from collapsing completely when, as a result of overhauling of the taxation system, cleaning up of the banking sector and such other structural reforms, the entire nation would undergo hardships of an extreme nature.

    most of the aid that comes can only be spent on development projects..

    My father has been invilved with World Bank funded/ managed development programmes in Pakistan.. and the money allocated to the project cannot be spent anywhere else..

    but even these development aid comes with caveats.. that you have to hire a foreign consulting firm as "consultants/ overseers" .. these consultants take upto 40% of the budget in their "developed country" wages. money that could well have been spent on further projects. the same money that the country has to pay back with interest.

    so the developed countries are not playing fair... charging for money which they got back through other means.. by force.

    Anyways, it is not the aid money which Pakistan is spending to buy the AWACS.. but out of its GDP.

    on similar train.. UK govt recently authorised sale of their Radar system to Tanzania..


    So if the holier than thou developed / donor countries stop selling their arms to developing countries then there would not be such a high defence budget of these countries.



      u r right.

      we spend 80% of our budget on non development sector (defence and debt payment). if we stop spending on defence there would not be much debt rise. Over the years we spent all out revenue on defence and for social sector, we r begging around the world, and this increasing the debt problem.

      if pak army does not have to fight (as can be seen from its pro-peace gestures), and if India can not fire a shot without taking Washington approval, then why not make a peace pact with India? Why not stop intervening in its internal affairs (kashmir included) with militant means?

      The reason we can not do that is that we then have to provide some justification for huge defence budget. And there would be none. Reducing defence expenditure would seriously increase the unemployment rate in punjab, and our establishment can not do this.


        If india stops its territorial ambitions.. then probably Pakistan could rest in peace..

        remember Simla agreement.. it was supposed to be peace treaty... but if you read up news from say 1985 - India had ammased forces along the border to invade.. Only for Zia to go to India and tell them .. do not attempt invasion as we have nuclear weapons as well.

        there was no militancy in Kashmir at that time.. it was verbal resistance only... so there was no reason for India to act hostile to Pakistan...