The United States Coalition Support Fund (CSF) to Pakistan will not be extended beyond 2015. Pakistan wanted to extend the duration of the CSF but the US is not ready to continue due to changing priorities in the context of challenges in the Middle East. Since 2001, the US has reimbursed $13 billion to Pakistan, which is the largest recipient of the fund.

The changing face of international security means that Pakistan and its troubles are less of an issue than what is happening in the Middle East. On the bright side, it means that Pakistan is growing out of its security dilemma and the US does not feel like it needs to be giving us monetary incentives to keep fighting their fight. There is no treat to the US from militancy in Pakistan and maybe, Zarb-e-Azb did well in tackling the problem. On the other hand, this can be seen as the US abandoning Pakistan, a weak nonthreatening player left to its own devices. Whatever the reason, it is time for Pakistan to rebuild its sovereignty and survive the upcoming withdrawal of aid. Not only is the CSF ending, but the UN is also packing up its refugees programs, as it does not have enough funds to continue.

Besides helping in meeting security expenses, the government has been using CSF inflows to narrow down the current account deficit. This stands to be become not just a problem for security expenditure, but a problem for the economy. Our economic planners should have already incorporated the upcoming scenario, as the program was supposed to end in 2014 but was extended for one more year. Many see this as an opportunity to end Pakistan’s reliance on international aid. It is hoped that economic planners do not try to fill the CSF gap with another aid program. The IMF already has us in its grip and most of the money lent to Pakistan goes into minimising the current account deficit. We have a rocky few years ahead of us. The Chinese were allowed free access to the Pakistan market and our local industry is not exactly flourishing. Without aid injections, we risk continued deficits, low reserves, devaluation of the rupee, inflation etc etc. Chinese investment, though a grand $40 billion, is for the next 10 to 15 years. It is not a lump sum injection that can keep up afloat.

The CSF gave us $13 billion, though our total expenditure on security since the American war in Afghanistan started is in excess of $22 billion. Estimated economic losses are estimated to be above $60 billion due to our engagement in the war. What is clear is that the war must end. We have to move away from being a security state.