This is apropos to the news report that US has suspended $700 million aid to Pakistan. It’s worth mentioning here that since July 2010, USA has not paid even the Pakistan’s due. It’s very unfortunate that US never treated Pakistan as an ally, friend or partner. We were always considered or treated like a subservient state which is working only for dollars. But the actual fact is that no country on the earth has suffered more than Pakistan from its own ally in last 60 years. The incorrect information by the US is given to press to put pressure and defame Pakistan. As per BBC correspondent, “Pakistan is one of the largest recipients of American foreign aid and Washington has provided about $ 20billion in security and economic aid to Pakistan since 2001” is totally incorrect. As per Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, available on the net, US allocated $ 20 bn in last ten years but reimbursed $ 12 bn only, in cash and kind. The actual situation is that $8 bn were reimbursed in Coalition Support Fund (CSF) by US and roughly $4 bn have been kept back as the services and training charges. As per record bills of expenditure of more than $ 18 bn have been forwarded to America but $ 6 bn are still outstanding. Moreover, no payments have been made since last one and half year. US is spending more than $ 10 bn per month in Afghanistan but Pakistan, who has deployed more than their forces and bearing the burden of 3 mn refugees is not paid back its expenditures. Similarly, $ 7.5bn under Kerry – Luger Bill were allotted for five years i.e. $ 1.5bn per year for the development of the poor people of Fata and uplift of remote areas but less than $ 500 million came in last two years. Similarly, there is not even a single mega project which America established for the Pakistanis. I think instead of adopting sheepish attitude we must guard our interests and demand the correct information.

The most important point to understand is that it’s not the aid but a fraction of our expenditures which are reimbursed by the US as per the CSF agreement. The problem is that we didn’t ink the agreement properly. The champion of democracy always prefer to support and deal with dictators, may it be Ayub Khan, Zia or the Musharraf. It’s due to the poor policies and misleading the people by the leaders that the situation has reached to a point where more than 60 percent masses of both countries consider each other as enemy.

The end game has started and Pakistan is being made an escape goat. The super power is afraid of accepting the ground realities and the rift between the State department and CIA is confusing the whole issue. Killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers and then putting the blame on Pakistan was a turning point which forced every Pakistani to shed all the differences and say unanimously, it’s enough. The ambassador’s conference to revisit the agreements with US and NATO was a step in right direction. There is of course no wisdom of breaking the relations with US or any other country but as the PM Gillani said, “the relations should be on sovereign equality, mutual respect and mutually beneficial”. It’s a testing time for both the countries and any miscalculated step will further destabilise this already volatile region. The solution lies in sincere cooperation, respect of sovereignty and inking new terms of engagement which suit both countries. The new rules of engagement should be drawn taking into confidence all the stakeholders and interest of Pakistan should be kept supreme.

SHAHID ZAHUR,

Rawalpindi, January 4.