October 10, 2012
Author: Hiranmay Karlekar
By waiving provisions of Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act to provide Pakistan full financial assistance, the Obama Administration has erred gravely
According to a newspaper report, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a message to the US Congress on September 13 said she was waiving provisions of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act 2009, also known as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act, that would have blocked the $2 billion in US economic and military assistance to Pakistan. Disbursing the funds, she reportedly told Congress that it was "important to the national security interests of the United States". Without the message, the State Department would not have been able to include the amount in its Budget for 2012.
The EPPA limits the release of the economic aid of $1.5 billion annually from financial year 2010 to financial year 2014, to $750 million each year unless the US President's Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan or in his or her absence, the Secretary of State, certifies that Pakistan was making reasonable progress toward achieving the US's objectives in Pakistan — that is, improving Islamabad's capacity to address the country's most critical infrastructure needs, helping it address basic needs and provide improved economic opportunities in areas most vulnerable to extremism; and strengthening Pakistan's capacity to pursue economic and political reforms that reinforce stability. In October 2010, Ms Clinton announced the US Administration's intention to increase American foreign military financing for Pakistan to $2 billion over a five year period, a $100 million annual increase from the level prevailing then.
The Act precluded the release of security-related assistance until the Secretary of State certified annually for Congress that the Government of Pakistan continued to cooperate with the US in its efforts to dismantle supplier networks relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons-related materials, that it demonstrated during the preceding fiscal year a sustained commitment to, and was making significant efforts towards, combating terrorist groups; that it was ceasing support, including by any elements within the Pakistan military or its intelligence agency, to extremist and terrorist groups, particularly any group that has attacked the US or coalition forces in Afghanistan, or against neighbouring countries. The Secretary of State had also to certify that Pakistan's Government was preventing Al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and Jaish-e-Mohammad from operating in Pakistan, carrying out activities that included cross-border attacks into neighbouring countries, closing terrorist camps in the FATA, and dismantling terrorist bases of operations in other parts of the country, including Quetta and Muridke, and was taking action when provided with intelligence about high-level terrorist targets, and that Pakistan's security forces were not materially and substantially subverting the country's political or judicial processes.
Anyone familiar with the conditions in Pakistan and the functioning of the Government would have to be intellectually challenged or a dyed-in-the-wool supporter of its military establishment to believe that any of the conditions laid down in the Kerry-Luger-Berman Act has been met. Nor does Mrs Clinton claim that they have been. According to the news report, she has claimed that the aid amount had to be released in the national security interests of the US. This is the same ground on which the US had released huge amounts of aid to Pakistan during the jihad against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, winked at the development of Pakistan's military nuclear capacity and shut its eyes to the promotion of pathologically anti-US jihadists among the mujahideen groups and sidelining of the moderate ones. The result of all this as well as indifference to Pakistan's promotion of the Taliban from the mid-1990s, was 9/11.
In the present instance, the message will confirm Pakistan's conviction that it can get away with anything as far as the US is concerned. With the US desperate to get away from Afghanistan one needs to be hardly surprised if the peace settlement it oversees paves the way for the return of the Taliban and Al Qaeda rule. That will mean not just defeat for the US but a bad time for the whole world. The first country to be affected will be India, which better be prepared for all eventualities, including a nuclear conflict with Pakistan.
Posted by Naxal Watch at 9:21 PM