Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, "Kerry Lugar Bill" & Political Point Scoring. - Inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity. Psychoanalysis . erotic gratification derived from admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development. Vanity - The quality or condition of being vain, Excessive pride in one's appearance or accomplishments; conceit. See Synonyms at conceit, Lack of usefulness, worth, or effect; worthlessness, Something that is vain, futile, or worthless, Something about which one is vain or conceited. A Personality Disorder where you have a abnormal disire for ones self, where you lack empathy, and unconscious inadequency of self esteem, due to regression of child development. also a delusion that you are more important than everyone else. Former foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi Saturday stressed that only an unblemished leadership could salvage Pakistan and that foundation for lasting ties with the US will have to be re-laid but with heads held high not down, Geo News reported. “What is greatly needed today is for us to change the way we think,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi said while addressing a big public meeting in his ancestral city Multan, for the first time after opting out of the new cabinet. He said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had described US relations with Pakistan as strained and question the basis of these ties which, he said, were crushed to the ground by a single event. “Shah Mehmood is a sepoy of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and brother of Benazhir Bhutto,” he said amid vociferous slogans, adding, ‘I swear to Maula I have no hunger for power’. The former foreign minister said his hands are clean and that his transparent character was reflective of this fact. “I present myself before the public’s accountability court.” He went on to say, “Shah Mehmood is not for sale and with his present stance (on Raymond Davis issue) he has also given a clear message that Shah Mehmood can’t be forced to bow down.” Qureshi said he was not the son of landlord but of a man of a humble origin. “We can’t find people of clean character in the cabinet of 40-50 members,” he said, adding, ‘we have good people around us all we need is an eye that can spot them.’ The time has come, he said, to learn ‘how to stand on our own two feet.’ He asked the crowd whether ‘we should trade our dignity.’ REFERENCE: Only spotless leadership can salvage Pakistan: Qureshi Updated at 2115 PST Saturday, February 19, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011, Rabi-ul-Awwal 16, 1432 A.H

Shah Mehmood Qureshi begs USA for Drone


Raymond Davis, Shah Mehmood Qureshi & Kerry Lugar Bill (Part - 1)

 Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Hyper Nationalist Pakistani Media During 2009., Oct 20: Political point scoring on the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, 2009, popularly known Kerry-Lugar Bill, can harm national interests as the country needs assistance from the world, including the United States, said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at a press conference at the local airport on Tuesday. He said Pakistan could get assistance only by improving its ties with other countries and not by indulging in conflicts. He said no conditions had been imposed on Pakistan in the act. He said the US would change its policy on Afghanistan and he had asked the US to consult the Pakistani government before changing its policy as the policy would impact Pakistan’s interests in the region. He said the government had provided copies of an explanatory statement of US officials over the act to political leaders. Senator John Kerry met Pakistan Muslim League-N Chief Nawaz Sharif and there were no reports that Mr Sharif had rejected the point of view of the US senator.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi with Hillary Clinton on Controversial Kerry Lugar Bill


He said that Pakistan would get Rs1 trillion in the next five years under the US aid act and the aid would be spent on the social sectors. He said that Pakistan had conveyed the reservations of political and military leaders of the country over the Kerry Lugar bill to the US government and all kind of reservations had been addressed in the explanatory statement of the US Senate and the Congress. He said that during his stay in the US, he met American think tanks and editorial boards of different newspapers to brief them about the Pakistani point of view on different issues. He also met the foreign ministers of Iran, India and Afghanistan and discussed with them the issues related to the Kashmir dispute, water, trade and prisoners’ exchange. He said that he had told US officials that terrorism was a 30-year-old issue and it had stemmed from US-funded camps for ‘Mujahideen’.He said that entire regional countries, including Iran, Afghanistan and India, should come forward to help Pakistan fight against terrorism.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi with Senator John Kerry on Controversial Kerry Lugar Bill


He said the government had consulted all political parties before the launch of the Operation Rah-i-Nijat or Operation for Salvation against the militants in South Waziristan. He said all arrangements had been made to accommodate 100,000 internally displaced persons. He said that although India did not recognise Pakistan’s efforts to eliminate terrorists openly but off-the-record they spoke highly of Pakistan’s gains in crushing the militancy. He said Pakistan condemned the recent suicide attack in Iran and President Asif Ali Zardari had called his Iranian counterpart assuring him Pakistan’s cooperation to nab the bombers. He said in the past Pakistan handed over wanted accused to Iran as the Pakistan was enjoying friendly relations with Iran and also had signed an agreement on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. He said that due to the successful diplomacy of the government, Pakistan got F-16 while friends of democratic Pakistan announced providing facilities to Pakistan to increase its trade volume. REFERENCE: pposition to US aid: Qureshi warns against political point- scoring By Our Staff Correspondent Wednesday, 21 Oct, 2009

Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Kerry Lugar Bill, Oct 13: Pakistan and the US Congress agreed on Tuesday to work on a joint statement addressing all issues linked to the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill. The decision to issue such a statement was taken after a series of meetings in Washington between the visiting Pakistani foreign minister and senior US officials and lawmakers. “We must address the concerns and fears expressed in Pakistan,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters after a meeting with Senator John Kerry, who chairs the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. “We will not allow Pakistan’s sovereignty to be compromised and will not allow anybody to micro-manage our affairs,” he said. Senator Kerry assured the Pakistani nation that the United States had no desire to manage its affairs. Washington, he said, also recognised the army’s role in the war against the extremists. “The Pakistani military has done an outstanding job,” he said.

The Kerry-Lugar Bill - analysis/interviews on News Beat Oct 7, 2009 1/5 SAMAA TV

The Kerry-Lugar Bill - analysis/interviews on News Beat Oct 7, 2009 2/5 SAMAA TV


Late last month, the US Congress approved this bill, which triples aid for Pakistan to $1.5 billion a year for the next five years and sent it to President Barack Obama for signing into law. But in an effort to address US concerns that Pakistan’s military may support militant groups, the bill stipulates conditions for security aid, among them that Pakistan must show commitment to fighting terrorism. The bill also provides for an assessment of how effective the civilian government’s control is over the military, including in the promotion of top military officials. Although the bill, named after US lawmakers who authored it, had sought to establish a long-term, multi-pronged relationship with Pakistan, these two clauses failed this purpose by creating a major controversy in Pakistan.

Capital Talk (19th October 2009) Part 1 of 3


Last week, the Pakistan military took an unprecedented step and issued a press release underlining its concerns. Initially, the reaction in Pakistan had an adverse impact on the United States as well, but since early this week, the US media has started acknowledging that the language of some of the clauses might have been seen in Pakistan as insulting. Some US experts also pointed out that the Pakistani military had reasons to interpret the clause that deals with promotions and transfer in the army as interference in its internal affairs. The uproar in Pakistan caused the foreign minister to cut short his visit to Washington last week and rush to Islamabad to wind up a parliamentary debate on this issue. While in Islamabad, he also attended a high-level meeting chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the head of the ISI attended this meeting.

Capital Talk (19th October 2009) Part 2 of 3

Capital Talk (19th October 2009) Part 3 of 3


Soon after the meeting, Islamabad announced that Mr Qureshi was going back to Washington to brief the Americans. Mr Qureshi, who arrived in the US capital on Tuesday morning, had his first working meeting with US special envoy Richard Holbrooke hours after his arrival. “I am meeting all of them to give perspective of Pakistan and its parliament,” Mr Qureshi said after “frank and open” discussions with Mr Holbrooke. “I shall explain to them our position.” “One has to be optimistic,” said the foreign minister when a reporter asked if he believed he would be able to clear all the misunderstandings.

Ajj Kamran Khan kay Sath Kerry Lugar Bill : MQM Quaid Altaf Hussain


Later, Mr Qureshi had a longer meeting with Senator Kerry at his office. In the afternoon, he was meeting US National Security Adviser James Jones and Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. After the Senate meeting, Mr Qureshi and Senator Kerry told reporters that Congressman Berman will join them for yet another meeting on Wednesday. The two US legislators and the Pakistani foreign minister will work on a joint statement, which will address all issues relating to the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill. “All interpretations and misinterpretations will be addressed,” said Mr Kerry. “The statement will make it very clear that the bill does not violate our sovereignty or seeks to micro-manage our affairs,” the foreign minister said.

Aaj Kamran Khan kay Saath (6th October 2009) Part 1 of 5


Senator Kerry said that the foreign minister “spoke to us very loudly and clearly” on all the issues concerning the bill. “We want to set the record straight and clear so that the bill is not misinterpreted or miss-characterised,” the senator said. The foreign minister’s tone was very different from that of his previous briefings on the bill. During last week’s visit, Mr Qureshi was keen to felicitate US lawmakers for passing the bill, telling them how grateful the Pakistani people and the government were for their generous offer of $7.5 billion. But on Tuesday, he was a different man, indicating that the parliamentary debate and the high-level meeting with the Pakistani military officials had forced him to change his views. REFERENCE: Qureshi, Kerry to thrash out discord on bill By Anwar Iqbal Wednesday, 14 Oct, 2009,-kerry-to-thrash-out-discord-on-bill-409

Aaj Kamran Khan kay Saath (6th October 2009) Part 2 of 5

URL: strategic dialogue with the US has ended. It is now for political analysts and strategists to draw their conclusions. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who led the Pakistan delegation, claimed at a news conference in Lahore that the talks were held on an `equal footing` and that Pakistan gained a lot of things, including the new US offer of $2 billion as military aid package. The foreign minister also dispelled the impression in the world media that Pakistan-US relations were on the downhill. He said discussions were also held on the US demand for a military action in North Waziristan but downplayed it for obvious reasons. However, summarising the outcome of the talks, he said, with a sense of pride, “We accepted their point of view and made them accept our points”.

Aaj Kamran Khan kay Saath (6th October 2009) Part 3 of 5


Mr Qureshi enumerated the demands that Pakistan had put forward, including drone strikes, transfer of civil nuclear technology and the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, but did not even touch upon the US response. However, Dawn published a news report quoting diplomatic sources as saying that the US had certain `expectations` that require Islamabad to expedite its efforts to dislodge militants from North Waziristan (Oct 25). It also said the US retained various options `to halt or reduce aid, if `expectations` were not met`. In fact, the proposed five-year aid package, effective from 2012, is subject to Congressional approval. Much depends on the next week`s mid-term polls in the United States where Obama`s Democratic Party has to pass a big test. The Republicans appear certain to gain control over the Congress. In such an eventuality the fate of this military package could be well imagined.

Aaj Kamran Khan kay Saath (6th October 2009) Part 4 of 5


Like the Kerry-Lugar Bill Package, the new military aid package will have to be got approved by the Congress where it could face strong opposition and even be rejected. The US Secretary of State has already made it clear that all assistance will comply with US laws and regulations. This means there is a long way to go under uncertain conditions. The US reaction to other Pakistani demands has not been favourable either. On Pakistan`s request for transfer of civilian nuclear technology, as did the US for India, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plainly refused to accede to it during her joint news conference with her Pakistani counterpart. Similarly, the US has once again declined to get involved in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, and advised Pakistan to discuss the issue directly with its neighbour. It should be clear to all that in the strategic dialogue Pakistan had many things to say and it did say, but the US had only one point agenda a full fledged military action in North Waziristan. Should the military aid package be viewed as bait to allure or tempt the Pakistanis? REFERENCE: The promised military aid package October 28, 2010 Pakistani critics are manufacturing a crisis over $7.5 billion in US aid for political reasons, one of the US authors of the assistance plan said on Thursday. The US Congress last week approved the plan authorizing a tripling of developmental aid over five years. But fierce controversy in Pakistan about conditions in the bill could make it harder for US lawmakers to appropriate the money going forward, a necessary step before the aid goes to Islamabad. “This is a created crisis, by people who either haven’t read the bill or don’t want to describe it accurately, and whose goal is either to destabilize the (Pakistani) government, or challenge some of the Pakistani military’s priorities,” Democratic Representative Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Reuters. Berman is the House sponsor of the legislation that was drafted with Senate sponsors Democrat John Kerry and Republican Richard Lugar. It has no strings attached on development aid, but stipulates conditions for security aid, saying Pakistan must show commitment on fighting terrorism and dismantling nuclear networks. It also says the security forces of Pakistan should not subvert the political system. Pakistan’s powerful military, which has ruled the country for more than half its 62-year history, has voiced serious concern about the legislation, and opposition politicians said it undermined national sovereignty. But Berman said that on security matters the bill outlined a joint strategy with Pakistan. He said members of Pakistan’s military had been familiar with provisions of the measure as it worked its way through the US House and Senate. “I’ve been in touch with them (the military) through this whole process,” Berman told Reuters. “I’ve spoken with (Pakistani army chief) General (Ashfaq) Kayani, other people. It’s a common strategy,” he said. This joint strategy is “that we want to assist their efforts to take on the counterinsurgency, to disband terrorist groups within Pakistan, to protect their nuclear facilities from proliferation,” Berman said. The controversy comes as the United States is pressing Pakistan’s army to expand its operations against Pakistani Taliban fighters to include Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in lawless border enclaves. Berman said that since April, both the government of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and the military “have shown a strong willingness to take on at least key elements of the insurgency, and with some success.”’s office issued a statement debunking what he said were “myths” circulating about the bill, denying for example that it had any language about unmanned drone aircraft Washington has used to attack militant targets in Pakistan. Kerry is travelling to the region next week, an aide said. US President Barack Obama had urged passage of the aid measure to promote stability in a nuclear-armed country that is key to the US war in Afghanistan. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Thursday that the president intended to sign it into law, because it was “important assistance for Pakistan.” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said assistance bills for some other countries, like Egypt and Colombia, had similar kinds of conditions. “We’re not holding Pakistan up to any kind of different standard than we would any other country where the US taxpayer is making an investment,” Kelly said. But the storm of protest in Pakistan has raised some hackles in the US Congress, with House Republican Leader John Boehner asking whether the administration had done its homework before promoting the bill. Democratic Representative Gary Ackerman said he had no interest in a partnership characterized by “suspicion, resentment and political manipulation.” REFERENCE: Berman says he consulted Pak military on aid bill Saturday, October 10, 2009

Capital Talk (14th October 2009) Part 1 of 3

URL:, Oct 7: “Those who have questions or doubts should read the legislation, which is very clear in its intent,” says US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while responding to the criticism that the Kerry-Lugar bill encroaches upon Pakistan’s sovereignty. She made these remarks on Tuesday afternoon at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi who defended the bill saying that the Americans had “no intentions of trampling on Pakistan’s sovereignty; … nor will the elected democratic government of Pakistan ever allow any compromise on Pakistan’s sovereignty”. As the minister emerged out of a meeting with Secretary Clinton he told waiting journalists that he was convinced the Americans had “no intentions of micromanaging Pakistan and nor will Pakistan permit micromanagement”. From the State Department, Mr Qureshi rushed to Capitol Hill where Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar joined him in urging the Pakistanis not to fear a bill that only aims to help them live better. “There is no conditionality, whatsoever, in this legislation with respect to the civilian assistance and the economic assistance that is provided …I want to emphasise there are no conditions on Pakistan attached to the $ 7.5 billion in non-military aid,” Senator Kerry told the joint briefing.

Capital Talk (14th October 2009) Part 2 of 3

Capital Talk (14th October 2009) Part 3 of 3


Senator Lugar described the bill as “a significant step forward” towards forging a greater relationship between the Pakistani and American nations. The foreign minister then dashed to the House to seek another assurance from Congressman Howard Berman, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr Berman obliged him, saying that the Kerry Lugar Bill had made a new beginning in the relationship with Pakistan. “We made some mistakes in the past but we will not repeat them again,” he declared. The assurances — sought and given — followed media reports that the opposition to the bill in Pakistan was spreading and now even the military had aired a rare public criticism of the proposed legislation. Senator Kerry responded to some of the concerns raised in Pakistan. In a statement at the joint briefing with Foreign Minister Qureshi, Senator Kerry acknowledged that there were some conditions on the military aid. But “conditions on military aid do not require anything of Pakistan that is not already in the stated policy of the government and opposition parties (of Pakistan) that is already agreed upon”.

Capital Talk (5th October, 2009) Part 1 of 3


Addressing more specific concerns expressed in Pakistan, the senator said: “There is absolutely nothing in this bill related to private security firms or drone attacks or host of other issues that have been tangled together…. (there is) nothing in this bill that impinges on Pakistani sovereignty.” And it was not just the US administration and Congress that responded to the reaction in Pakistan. The media did too. The New York Times noted that President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan “has agreed to the stipulations in the Kerry-Lugar bill” and was “coming under sharp criticism from opposition parties and many Pakistanis who view America as a cavalier and condescending ally”. The CBS News quoted a western expert as saying that “the Pakistani military is not at all anywhere near seeking to break ranks with the US. What they seem to be doing is simply taking a stand (on the bill). Now, the next step will come from Washington where President Obama may not want to see a break in relations with Pakistan”. The US media also reported that the military is particularly concerned about a provision which required the US administration to send to Congress “an assessment of the extent to which the government of Pakistan exercises effective civilian control of the military”. The assessment should include “a description of the extent to which civilian executive leaders and parliament exercise oversight and approval of military budgets, the chain of command, the process of promotion for senior military leaders, civilian involvement in strategic guidance and planning, and military involvement in civil administration”. The media noted that the military saw this as an attempt to control the promotions and transfers process in the military with the help of the Zardari government. An email from a senior official of the US Congress underlined a growing reaction in the United States to Pakistan’s response. “Feel free to let the Pakistan military know that the current Senate foreign operations appropriations bill contains, thanks to the obstructionist attitude of the Pakistani military, exactly zero dollar in foreign military funding for Pakistan,” the official wrote. “If Gen Kayani wants to deprive Pakistani children of schools, roads and clinics, he better be prepared to forgo P-3s and F-16s too. The people he is counting on to provide them are precisely the people he is doing his best to alienate.” REFERENCE: US does not intend to encroach on Pakistan’s sovereignty: Qureshi By Our Correspondent Thursday, 08 Oct, 2009 (Dawn)

Capital Talk (5th October, 2009) Part 2 of 3

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has agreed to relent on his hitherto uncompromising stance on the Kerry-Lugar Bill in its existing shape. The president and the prime minister have decided to defuse the current crises by both assuring Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Saturday that all the controversial clauses of the Kerry-Lugar Bill will be debated in both houses of parliament and subsequently these clauses could be rejected by parliament. The president and the prime minister will meet jointly with the army chief today (Saturday) in a bid to address all concerns of the Army high command regarding the Kerry-Lugar Bill. Both the prime minister and the president discussed the current political crises in different meetings on Friday. A group of federal ministers first met the prime minister in the morning in his parliament chambers and then the president in the late afternoon. This group of ministers was on a crisis-defusing mission. They included Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Petroleum Minister Naveed Qamar, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr Babar Awan and Labour Minister Khurshid Shah. Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar was also part of the meeting in the late afternoon.

Capital Talk (5th October, 2009) Part 3 of 3


A recent statement of Farhatullah Babar also came under discussion in which he reportedly said that opponents of the Kerry-Lugar Bill were opponents of President Zardari. Farhatullah Babar claimed that his statement was distorted. It was decided that in future he will speak only after first consulting with Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira. Interior Minister Rehman Malik was not invited to this meeting but he too remained active till late last night. He contacted top army brass Thursday and assured that the president had no plans to remove General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani from the command of Pakistan Army. He categorically told one general that; “Neither I nor the president is hatching any conspiracy against General Kayani and if someone can prove anything against me I will resign.” According to reliable sources, the president himself will assure General Kayani today that nobody is going to remove him from his current job.

It is also learnt that at least two federal ministers recommended to President Zardari that he must identify and fire all those who are responsible for creating misunderstanding between the Army high command and the civilian leadership. Some action on their recommendations is expected soon. Everybody present in the meeting agreed that the country cannot afford confrontation between different institutions and there is an urgent need to defuse the crises so that no internal or external enemy could take advantage of this situation. The president said that the country needed unity against extremist forces and any political crises will only help all those who have become a threat for the state in the tribal areas. It was also decided that the prime minister will talk to the heads of all major political parties for making a joint strategy on Kerry-Lugar Bill.

One minister informed the prime minister in the morning meeting that Kerry-Lugar Bill is not the only source of irritation between the army high command and the government. The president was also informed about the activities of some US citizens in Islamabad and Peshawar that created a lot of concern in army circles. Reliable sources claimed that rejection of the controversial clauses of Kerry-Lugar Bill by the parliament will not be enough. The army high command and a large number of federal ministers want a check on the mysterious activities of some US nationals in Pakistan. The Interior Ministry had recently informed prime minister that there were 411 US nationals present in Pakistan these days out of which 286 enjoyed the status of diplomats. US embassy in Islamabad has hired about 307 houses in the capital. Security agencies have completed a survey of these houses and informed the government in clear words that most of these houses will not be used just for residences but also for spying activities. The president and the prime minister will discuss all these issues with COAS today and will try to form a joint strategy to secure and stabilise the country. REFERENCE: Troika meets today to resolve all issues By Hamid Mir Parliament likely to reject Kerry-Lugar Bill Saturday, October 10, 2009
The Army’s public statement openly questioning the intentions and policies of the civilian government in regards to the lucrative Kerry-Lugar Bill, while not surprising, is disappointing because it comes so early in yet another era of democratic revivalism. The bells of conspiracy and subterfuge are ringing again; the gyre, as Yeats would put it, is turning and widening. We are spellbound listening to the catchy chorus of political opportunists cashing in on the controversy. They smell blood. We know this tune – the opportunist sonata. It is the one that, laced with cacophonies of “national interest” slogans, crescendos in interventionism and upheaval. This impasse is an indication of yet another democratic civilian government being unable to take policy decisions autonomously as well as the continued unwillingness of the establishment to let go, even if only for the time being – as is usually the case every decade or so. What is even more disappointing is that there has been rabid support for the army’s “concerns,” rather than condemnation. In other countries, even India, an army chief would have been dismissed for something like this. Whether or not the army high command was consulted is inconsequential because in a pure democratic setup, a civilian government is not bound to consult the army at all. So what if contentious clauses were, as is being alleged, inserted in the Kerry-Lugar Bill through a conspiracy by a few civilians to tame the army’s influence, or to control their funding? That we are giving the Army’s ‘concern’ so much importance is essentially a reflection of a contradiction that Pakistan has struggled with since inception. Whether we admit it or not, the deeply-embedded nationalist psyche of the country dictates that the armed forces are the definitive authority in protecting the identity, and hence the very existence, of Pakistan. Questioning this authority has always been anathema, which is why the armed forces get away with almost anything: they are equated with our sovereignty and ultimately with our independence. Questioning the army, more importantly its top brass, has for too long been equated with questioning our sovereignty. Yet, intervention — direct and indirect — by the armed forces is also cited by politicians and intellectuals as the main hurdle to political development democratic sustainability.
Today in Pakistan, many are championing Gen Kayani for something that is the polar opposite of what he was praised for only a few months ago – i.e., non-interference. The same people – in the media, political circles and civil society – who were rabid critics of the army’s intervention in politics and policy-making just a few months ago, are now its reservations to put pressure on the current government regarding the Kerry-Lugar Bill. Medically, Pakistan would be called schizophrenic. When it really matters, no one seems to remember army intervention is a problem, not a solution; this is why the marching boots are cheered into the capital every once in a while, only to be sent packing a decade later. It should be no surprise that the Army has opposed the Kerry-Lugar Bill on the grounds that it was not consulted. The armed forces have historically been the principal figure, and indeed the principal beneficiary, when it comes to relations with America. The civilians have never been given a chance to work with US largesse – possibly because this is exactly when they can actually make democracy work. When the US and Pakistan’s relations were on a high in the late 50s and 60s, the early stages of the cold war, Pakistan went through its “Golden Era of Capitalism” – under Ayub Khan. Pakistan’s military government got into America’s good books in exchange for modelling policies along free-market capitalist lines instead of being protectionist like India. By doing this, we were giving their ideology preference and credibility over local, independent economic models that China and the rest of Asia were following. We are economically non-existent in the global sphere today.

When Washington went on a spending spree in the 80s, Pakistan was under Gen Zia and his regime received tons of money and aid in exchange for fighting a proxy war against the Soviets. Also, where was the army’s concern for sovereignty when the military handed over hundreds of its nationals to the US for interrogation in Guantanamo Bay after 9/11? Moral of the tale? Aid with strings was fine as long as the khakis had a direct say in it and there was a soldier in the Presidency. If today the US is supporting Pakistan financially under a civilian setup, in the same way, why shouldn’t it be allowed? Shouldn’t we at least give it a try? Or does the army fear that the civilians might just make this work – which will be a huge step to break away from the vicious cycle of military interventionism?

This is not about how corrupt Asif Ali Zaradri is or is not. He is a nonentity in the larger quest for democracy. This is about defending those who follow him – i.e., in becoming democratically elected leaders of Pakistan. Nor is this about aid or the Kerry-Lugar Bill; this is about civilians’ right to stand up for themselves and determine their own policies without the army’s godfathering – however well-intentioned it may be. If we argue that the problem lies with a controversial president, then we should be ready to have all our future leaders walk the tight rope of army support, shaken publicly by a mere ISPR press statement. The army is an important institution that has its own place – but that place is not in the realm of policy-making. Otherwise, we should forget civilian sovereignty, and instead equate sovereignty with only the military’s right to dictate policy shifts – something that will see us stay put, on edge, for another 62 years. The time to set the ground for a paradigm shift is now. The smallest signs of interventionism must be nipped in the bud. Be warned: Kerry-Lugar today, a whole lot more tomorrow. REFERENCE: Gratuitous advice, opportunistic politics Saturday, October 10, 2009 (The News International - Jang Group of Newspapers) Gibran Peshimam The writer is city editor of The News, Karachi.

U.S. Payments To Pakistan Face New Scrutiny - Little Accounting for Costs To Support Ally's Troops - By Robin Wright Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, February 21, 2008; Page A01Once a month, Pakistan's Defense Ministry delivers 15 to 20 pages of spreadsheets to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. They list costs for feeding, clothing, billeting and maintaining 80,000 to 100,000 Pakistani troops in the volatile tribal area along the Afghan border, in support of U.S. counterterrorism efforts. No receipts are attached.I n response, the Defense Department has disbursed about $80 million monthly, or roughly $1 billion a year for the past six years, in one of the most generous U.S. military support programs worldwide. The U.S. aim has been to ensure that Pakistan remains the leading ally in combating extremism in South Asia.But vague accounting, disputed expenses and suspicions about overbilling have recently made these payments to Pakistan highly controversial -- even within the U.S. government. The poor showing in Monday's parliamentary election by the party of President Pervez Musharraf, whose government has overseen local disbursement of the money, may make Congress look closer at all U.S. financial assistance to the country. Questions have already been raised about where the money went and what the Bush administration got in return, given that pro-American sentiment in Pakistan is extremely low and al-Qaeda's presence is growing steadily stronger.

In perhaps the most disputed series of payments, Pakistan received about $80 million a month in 2006 and 2007 for military operations during cease-fires with pro-Taliban tribal elders along the border, including a 10-month truce in which troops returned to their barracks.

The Bush administration has acknowledged some problems, but still says that the program -- part of a costly military effort known as the Coalition Support Fund -- is worth every penny. "Yes, we may have overpaid, but it's still a good deal," said a senior administration official involved in Pakistan policy, noting that more than 1,000 Pakistani troops have been killed while assisting Operation Enduring Freedom.

"Padding? Sure. Let's be honest, we're talking about Pakistan, which has a legacy of corruption," added another U.S. official familiar with past U.S. payments. "But if they're billing us $5 billion and it's worth only $4 billion, the question is whether it's worth nickel-and-diming it if it's such a top national security objective. If it's in the ballpark, does the bigger picture call for continuing on with a process that does generate significant progress on the war on terror? They do get their hands on people we can't."

U.S. officials say the payments to Pakistan -- which over the past six years have totaled $5.7 billion -- were cheap compared with expenditures on Iraq, where the United States now spends at least $1 billion a week on military operations alone.

"My sense is that the Pakistani military would not be out on the border if not for the Coalition Support Funds. That's the baseline cost of getting them out on a mission that is really our mission," said Craig Cohen, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the author of a recent study on U.S.-Pakistan relations.

Yet the Bush administration has recently begun to scrutinize Pakistan's bills more closely. Washington delayed payment of about $78 million of $360 million for the March-June 2007 quarter now working its way through the reimbursement process. Pakistan will receive only $282 million later this month, U.S. officials said, with additional payment once it provides more detailed accounting.

It recently rejected a Pakistani bill, officials say, for "roads and tracks" -- for its Navy operations, U.S. officials said.

Some regional specialists question whether the Pentagon's money is being well spent. "The amount that's been spent on the Coalition Support Fund, given the results, is a reminder that the Pakistani will just might not be there," Cohen said. "Most Pakistanis see this as America's war."

Congressional officials and others are concerned that the administration has been so eager to prop up Musharraf that it overlooked U.S. foreign aid and accounting standards. A congressional oversight subcommittee is also set to begin an investigation next month, while the Government Accountability Office plans to finish its own inquiry in April.

"We have had an enormous amount of money going out there since 9/11, and I'm not satisfied that we're getting the kind of accounting that would warrant a determination that this is money well spent, or whether we should change the direction of the money and get more bang for our buck another way," said Rep. John F. Tierney (D-Mass.) chairman of the national security and foreign affairs subcommittee of the oversight committee looking into the program.

In a closed-door hearing in December, for example, Hill staffers pressed Richard Boucher, assistant secretary of state for South Asia, to provide receipts for every Pakistani expense over $1 million, a request the State Department has not yet met. The U.S. government generally requires receipts when it reimburses entities for expenses.

A payment process that looks too loose in Washington is seen as too tight in Pakistan, however. Over the past four months, Musharraf complained to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte about delays in Washington's payment, which can take five to eight months, U.S. officials said.

The process is laborious, officials acknowledge, with many players blaming one another for allowing the Pakistani bills to move through the system without stronger oversight.

After the spreadsheets are delivered, officials at the U.S. Embassy try to verify that Pakistan incurred expenses in support of combat activity on the Afghan border. "It's a big job to go through and figure out what the Pakistanis have spent. The State Department doesn't know the toys," said the second U.S. official familiar with policy.

He added: "The embassy doesn't have the manpower or expertise to tell whether an aviator widget doohickey costs 50 or 50,000 rupees, or to find out if they really burned out four aviatics packages in an Apache helicopter and, if so, could we see them because maybe they only need maintenance." This first review takes about a month, officials say.

The spreadsheets then go to U.S. Central Command in Tampa, where officials evaluate claims and recommend reimbursement if the expenditures meet U.S. strategy. But the U.S. Embassy's initial approval greases much of the rest of the process, U.S. officials said. This second review takes about six weeks, the sources said.

The Pakistani bills then go to the Pentagon, where comptrollers determine whether they are reasonable and credible, based in part of the costs of fielding U.S. troops, a senior Pentagon official said. That third review takes about five weeks, U.S. officials said.

The bills are then sent to the Office of Management and Budget, where officials have expressed concern about poor documentation but have little leverage at this stage of the process to challenge them, several U.S. officials said. The undersecretaries of defense and state then formally concur that the operations are consistent with U.S. policy and that they do not change the regional balance of power.

The Pentagon next notifies the four Senate and House defense oversight committees. If no congressional holds are issued within 15 days -- and none have been so far in six years -- the Pentagon issues a check five days later.

Administration officials insist that the U.S. arrangement with Pakistan is unique. "Don't compare it to an audit," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. "They are a sovereign government assisting us rather than someone who works for us. They are an ally. They are acting on our behalf to go after terrorists in support of Operation Enduring Freedom."

Added a senior Pentagon official: "The last thing we'd want is boxes and boxes of crumpled receipts."

To resolve tensions over the program, Congress, the State Department, and the Office of Management and Budget have all argued for the money to be tied to specific counterterrorism programs, rather than general military support. But some officials still worry that adding conditions would lead Islamabad to reduce cooperation on the most pivotal frontline in fighting extremism.

"We don't want to offend the Pakistanis," said the second U.S. official familiar with the policy. "What if the balance of their calculus changes and they decide that cooperation is more than it's worth? We do have to take that into account."

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

SOURCE: The Washington Post


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