Confusion Prevails Over what U.S. Promised Pakistan

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  • Despite an official denial from the U.S. State Department, there is still confusion over just what the U.S. promised Pakistan in terms of civilian aid through the Kerry Lugar Bill for the year 2014.
  • On 05.01.2015 in Washington, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki  reacting to a report in said :the U.S. had neither notified nor disbursed any funds to Pakistan under the Kerry Lugar Bergman Bill (KLB) since 2013.
  • The statement directly countered what the Pakistan Finance Ministry had put out in its release of a meeting between the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson and Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
  • According to release no. 936 dated December 29, 2014, still on the Ministry’s official website: “Mr. Olson discussed with the Minister the civilian assistance package under the Kerry Lugar Act.
  • The Ambassador said that the Congress has notified a $532m assistance package for Pakistan with its break-up being given for different sectors like energy, defence against terrorism, economic growth, community building, education and health.
  • A source in Islamabad told that like in 2011, the U.S. had conveyed that it would certify the Pakistani government on its actions against terror.
  • In September 2012, the U.S. Administration waived certification requirements under national security provisions
  • In February 2013, it issued a waiver to allow for the transfer of major defence equipment.
  • At a press conference , Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam made no comment on the State Department snub to Pakistan
  • Instead Tasneem Aslam lashED out at India for its remarks doubting Pakistan’s actions to dismantle terror bases and act against the LeT and Jaish.
  • Senior Indian officials said they were satisfied with the State Department’s disavowal of any certification
  • But Indian Officials also said it was quite possible that some promise had been made during the meeting and “the U.S. backtracked when Pakistan’s Finance Ministry jumped the gun.
  • Under KLB or the Enhanced Cooperation with Pakistan Act of 2009, co-written by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry when he was Senator, the U.S. would commit $7.5 billion to Pakistan for civilian aid over a period of five years (2009-2014).
  • The funds would be disbursed after a certification from the State Department on the Pakistan government’s actions against terror groups like the LeT and Jaish, as well as the continuance of a democratic set-up without interference from the military.
  • According to the Sharif government’s reply in the National Assembly : as of September 2014, when the KLB lapsed, Pakistan had received only about half the funds promised, around $3.8 billion.
  • Given that the funds still need to be disbursed and the Afghanistan security situation necessitates co-operation from Islamabad, the U.S. has been under some pressure to fulfil its commitment to Pakistan.