Since its independence 64 years ago, Pakistan has been a major recipient of US aid. Several times during that history, the US has suspended assistance because of Pakistan’s nuclear program, then reinstated aid when other issues became more important.
In 1970, America suspended aid to Pakistan after learning that Pakistan was attempting to enrich Uranium, potentially for weapons use. But when former USSR entered Afghanistan, the United States reconsidered its position because of the geo-political importance Pakistan to fight the Communist threat, and the US resumed military aid to Pakistan. In 1990, after Russia exited Afghanistan and Pakistan lost importance to the US, America again suspended military aid because the country continued its nuclear program. But again in 2001, the geo-political position of Pakistan gained importance as a result of Afghanistan’s involvement in 9/11 attacks on WTC. America continues to view Pakistan as an essential ally in its war on terror, so US aid is again flowing towards Pakistan.
What are the criteria for US aid to any country of the world? The US previously considered 30 different criteria when assessing aid, but the Clinton Administration revamped the criteria in the 1990s. Following is the current criteria for aid:
The number one factor that controls aid to a country is its nuclear program. America does not give aid to countries engaged in nuclear proliferation. This is the reason the US has suspended assistance to Pakistan in the past.
The number two factor is the form of government in a country. America is a democracy, and it gives aid to countries that are also democratic. This has also impacted US aid to Pakistan. The country was ruled by military dictators for nearly half of its independence, but Pakistan now has a government transitioning the country from dictatorship to democracy.
The third factor is the economic system of the country receiving US aid. America prefers market economies and especially the economies dictated by the World Bank and IMF. America is also interested in new markets for its products, so it gives aid to the countries that can potentially become markets for its exports.
The fourth factor is the involvement of the country in terrorism, either factional or state. If a country or a faction of the country is involved in terrorism, America will not provide aid to that country. America recently accused Pakistan of its involvement in terrorist activities in Afghanistan, so it is considering stopping its aid to Pakistan. India has also accused Pakistan of terrorist attacks in the past.
The fifth factor is the population control. Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and it is facing the problem of overpopulation. This rapidly increasing population is also damaging the environment. America gives aid to those countries that are actively engaged in controlling their population and also taking steps to stop polluting the environment. In Pakistan, all the efforts to control population have failed in the past because of the religious teachings and the wrong interpretation of Islam by Islamic clerics.
The sixth factor is control on the production of narcotics. Pakistan neighbors Afghanistan, the number one producer of opium in the world. This opium is converted into heroin in the factories in Afghanistan and then distributed to the entire world through Pakistan. Pakistani government has an anti narcotics force to control the spread of heroin from Afghanistan to the rest of the world.
Other factors, like human rights, also impact the distribution of US aid to a country. America gives importance to military to military contacts between America and the country seeking American aid. In Pakistan, human rights situation is not very good but military to military contacts between USA and Pakistan are very strong especially after 9/11.
America also considers the condition of the refugees taking asylum in a country. In Pakistan, more than three million Afghan refugees are residing. Pakistan has taken good care of these refugees in past. In a conference held in Bonn, a city of Germany in early December to decide the future of Afghanistan, it was stressed on Pakistan to keep on taking good care of Afghan refugees living on its soil.
US aid to Pakistan waivers depending on a variety of factors. The continued nuclear development in Pakistan as well as issues such as narcotics, population control and democracy also weigh on the decision. Based on current factors, compounded by America’s debt situation, it appears highly likely the US will decrease or even end aid to Pakistan in the future.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.