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WASHINGTON: US Pre­sident Don­ald Trump on Thursday proposed a $1.1tr budget, which includes a substantial cut in foreign aid, possibly affe­cting Pakistan and other recipients.

However, the US military aid to Pakistan also comes from the defence budget where Trump proposed a massive $54bn increase.

Director of the Office of Manag­ement of Budget Mick Mulvaney told reporters ahead of the budget proposals the administration plans to cut the State Department’s foreign aid programme by an unprecedented 28 per cent. “Foreign aid gets reduced,” said the US official while explaining budget cut was not a judgement on the State Department’s performance but because foreign aid happens to fall within the department’s functions.

The proposed cuts will directly affect major US aid recipients, which include Pakistan. The top recipients in the 2016-17 budget were Afghanistan $4.7bn; Israel $3.1bn; Egypt $1.4 bn; Iraq $1.1 bn; Jordan $1bn and Pakistan $742m. Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Ethiopia each received more than $500m.

Last week, the Trump administration made its first reimbursement of $550m to Pakistan, setting aside rumours that Washington’s new rulers may sever their ties with Islamabad. The money came from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), which is used for reimbursing Pakistan for fighting militants on its western border with Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, the Congress adopted the defence appropriation bill for 2017, which also sets aside $900m for providing economic and military assistance to Pakistan. The US Congress had authorised these reimbursements in 2016 but recent reports in the US and Indian media suggested the Trump administration may delay or even stop the payment as it was unhappy with Pakistan’s performance in the war against terror.

A recent study, authored jointly by former envoy Hussain Haqqani and Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation, also suggested stopping US assistance to Pakistan, particularly to its defence establishment, to force Islamabad to follow US policy guidelines. Earlier this week, Congressman Ted Poe, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terro­rism, introduced a bill in the House of Represen­tatives, seeking to get Pakistan declared a state sponsor of terrorism.

Such proposals were, however, strongly disputed by the US defence establishment.In January, Lt Gen John Nicholson, who commands US and Nato forces in Afghanistan,

told a congressional panel that Wash­ingtion should try to ‘enlist’ Pakistan for defeating terrorists in Afghanistan. He also told the US Senate Armed Services Committee Pakistan’s military operations in Fata were “critical to defeating insurgency”.

Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2017

Comments (53) Closed

aslam shaikh Mar 17, 2017 10:14am

Our Politicians' pocket money is being reduced.

Alba Mar 17, 2017 10:22am

Trump campaigned on cutting foreign aid across the board. He thinks the USA can no longer play Santa Claus to poor countries. He has been trying to keep his campaign promises.

Sami khan Mar 17, 2017 10:34am

Good move by the USA. Now Pakistanis should wake up . It is also a time that Pakistanis start paying their taxes and stop corruption.

Shan Mar 17, 2017 10:48am

First good news for Pakistan in a loooogest time

Kumar Mar 17, 2017 11:15am

Even while campaigning he made it clear that he will cut foreign aid.

shahid Mar 17, 2017 11:36am

We may face a cut in USAID but I don't think that they will just stop it fully. USA will never want to fully lose their leverage over Pakistan.

Waaris Mar 17, 2017 11:46am

"..substantial cut in foreign aid, possibly affe­cting Pakistan ...". Ok, bring it on!! Pakistan must not be under the influence of USA or any other country. The foreign aid goes to foriegn bank accounts of our elected corrupt to the core politicians anyway!

Saulat Shere Mar 17, 2017 12:20pm

@Shan: I completely agree with you. Most of the foreign assistance is squandered away be the government in Pakistan. With the cut in American aid, may be they would learn to live within their means. And the nation can walk with their head high.

Saif Zulfiqar Mar 17, 2017 12:25pm

Good omen for Pakistan. Will learn to stand on their own feet. Anyhow, Trump is anti Muslim and most of the Muslim countries are becoming the friends of China.

Azad kashmir Mar 17, 2017 12:27pm

Blessing in disguise. But this could also mean shutting down their supply routes to Afghanistan is reimbursements are shut down. And I know they won't be begging Russia or Central Asians or Iran for help anytime soon! Good luck to them though

Azad kashmir Mar 17, 2017 12:27pm

@shahid 67% of USAID funding goes towards admin and setup costs. It's as worthless as most other aid organizations - save for the UNDP and DFID which are doing some good things.

FRANKENSTEIN Mar 17, 2017 12:35pm

If we can spend more than $ 2 billion in just one city for mass transit system then we should not worry about some millions. And if we really are worried about these millions then we should stop our frugal spending.

Falcon1 Mar 17, 2017 12:38pm

Aid that comes with strings attached? Thanks, but no thanks!

SID Mar 17, 2017 12:46pm

@Saif Zulfiqar Except Saudi , UAE, Kuwait & oil producing Gulf countries. They were in good book of USA & will remain.

Abdul Rehman Mar 17, 2017 12:53pm

@Saif Zulfiqar : Good omen for Pakistan. Will learn to stand on our own feet.

Khwarizmi Mar 17, 2017 12:53pm

Good, I hope he cuts all aid to Pakistan. It never did us any good.

KHALID YOUSAFZAI (UK) Mar 17, 2017 01:31pm

Please STOP OUR AID, we are proud PAKISTANIS and do not want to be called as beggars in the world.

M.Saeed Mar 17, 2017 02:00pm

Let us be patriotic first before anything and tell Washington to follow US policy guidelines in place already about jointly fighting the terror. It is highly beneficial for the US administration because it saves lot of their worries concerning rapidly rising terror originating from its largest breeding round that is Afghanistan. Congressman Ted Poe, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terro­rism who introduced a bill in the House of Represen­tatives, seeking to get Pakistan declared a state sponsor of terrorism, is the biggest perpetrator of terror by burying his neck in the desert sand of terror and dreaming all good.

M. AsGhar Mar 17, 2017 02:23pm

Pakistan has to create its own wealth, because the so-called foreign aid is nothing more than a tying trap for the donner's interests.

ALTAF Ahemed Ansari Mar 17, 2017 02:29pm

In fact, it will not effect the economy of Pakistan. Pakistan will be as usual. Because, this money , which was coming as aid from AMERICA,was just being siphoned out in the account of corrupt politicians. The common man , never got benefited. HENCE, NO PROBLEM FOR PAKISTAN.

Missile man Mar 17, 2017 02:34pm

That's really going to hurt Pakistan in no small way. Please forgive and keep giving us alms.

shehroz Mar 17, 2017 02:34pm

Good move, we all know for what designs the aid money was being utilized.

Akram Mar 17, 2017 02:56pm

the amount of aid given is pretty small actually, and the chances are it will simply be repackaged from the increase in the defence budget.

The US is not completely stupid they know nothing works in this part of the world until you slip people some money.

Akram Mar 17, 2017 02:58pm

@Saulat Shere have you actually bothered to find out where the aid money went before claiming it has been squandered?

do some research on line and it may surprise you.

Akram Mar 17, 2017 03:05pm

@Azad kashmir worthless? are you aware that the discovery of Pakistan's vast shale oil and gas reserves were funded by USAID? Even the Mangla and Tarbela Dams had foreign aid which allowed them to be built in the first place.

I suggest you do some research before making such comments.

dost Mar 17, 2017 03:14pm

Monetary wise hard days ahead.

Shoaib Mar 17, 2017 04:01pm

Most if not all of US aid to Pakistan is for the military. And that would continue because most of that comes from the US defense budget. I am not proud of the military ties between the two countries -- and the kind of work they do together -- but just saying.

Inam ali essex Mar 17, 2017 04:04pm

Bad news for our politicians, this will stop their wealth, bank account from increasing,

Anil danane Mar 17, 2017 04:11pm

how israel is inside the list? Why israel req such billion dollars similar to other great countrys in the list

Anil danane Mar 17, 2017 04:17pm

@M. AsGhar you are right Pakistan have to find out new sources of income. Becoz foreign help is not for common peoples this is for panamagate suezgate scams

Maxx Mar 17, 2017 04:22pm

@Anil danane Not only Israel, India till now was the biggest recipient of US aid, more than Pakistan has received over the years. India lives in a parallel delusional world...

Satyam Mar 17, 2017 04:39pm

@ALTAF Ahemed Ansari then why do Pakistani people elect these corrupt leaders in the first place.The people of Pakistan, themselves are responsible for their money being eaten up by the politicians.

Singh Mar 17, 2017 04:42pm

Pakistan is a huge country with vast mineral resources and gas. Why it wants or seek financial aid from U.S. and others. Pakistan if it seriously wants, can stand on its own feet.

Azad kashmir Mar 17, 2017 04:45pm

@Akram I suggest you do the research. It's not even feasible for Pakistan to tap into shale because of the environmental costs and costs to frack. Save your advice for yourself!

Humza Mar 17, 2017 05:03pm

"Aid" that never really aided anyone but the politicians. I'm glad they'll lower it, so we can finally learn to fend for ourselves.

Saif zulfiqar Mar 17, 2017 05:17pm

@SID, US protect these rulers and get paid by oil, free of charge.,

Wakaz Mar 17, 2017 05:29pm

Thank goodness, such a relief

N.Sid Mar 17, 2017 05:38pm

Aid never prospers, it actually goes back to US in the form of services. It is for the rulers and not the public, good that equation is changing.

M. Siddique Mar 17, 2017 06:30pm

After 70 years why Pakistan is still looking for US Aid? Pakistan should be self sufficient and work on trade instead. Payment for defense cooperation for US operations is different issue and that is not aid.

Imran Mar 17, 2017 06:33pm

Good. Less dependence on foreign aid the better.

Raja farhat abbas Mar 17, 2017 07:22pm

@Singh ...I agree with your comment 100%.

Shakil USA Mar 17, 2017 07:54pm

@aslam shaikh - Your right Bro and agreed.

Anil danane Mar 17, 2017 10:40pm

@Maxx hi my friend maxx you are wrong that indian states also have rights to made certain MOUs along with foreign multinationals financing organisations to bring certain developments in basic infrastructure of state and for that they are paying intrest for them even munciplty of many cities have their own MOUs with world bank this point is diffrent but taking help for war like situation this is absoulatly ridiculous

Sohail Wazir Mar 18, 2017 07:33am

It's a good news for the people bad news for the politcians. Thank you US

Ayub Mar 18, 2017 08:13am

Pakistan should stand on its own feet.

Irfan uk Mar 18, 2017 05:32pm

Have you noticed that most of the people here are so happy that we may NOT be getting aid from USA? Indeed we will do much better without aid from anyone we want to trade with all countries and make our own money and our own decisions but unfortunately our leaders are so corrupt they desperately want that aid so that they can put it into their foreign bank accounts.

Mohammad S. Khalid Mar 18, 2017 06:18pm

Blessing in display (not in disguise).

alla bux Mar 18, 2017 07:15pm

Good. Finally we may have to stand on our own legs. How long can others give us aid? China charges interest at usurious rate and we are OK with that. So now we will borrow money at market rates and our economy will improve.

Khan Mar 18, 2017 09:09pm

Well done Trump. We never saw the money that USA sent to us as AID. Now its time for Pakistan to seriously think and stand on its own legs.

DeepaK Mar 19, 2017 01:36am

@Saif Zulfiqar - Do you think China is Muslim friendly?

DeepaK Mar 19, 2017 01:39am

@alla bux - Only for the Project which they fund and send their people.. China is slowly progressing and moving it people all around the globe.. In long run Chinese policy will be more dangerous.

ENIGMA Mar 19, 2017 03:48am

Why do need any more USA assistance since we will have CPEC which will help Pakistan more then any amount of American fund could ever do so. As for our military aid, if USA wants to reimburse our military for the massive sacrifices and financial debt it incurred thanks to the USA's proxy wars in Pakistan, then that's fair enough.

Omar Sadiq Mar 20, 2017 12:52pm

As a Pakistani, I say "Amen!" to the cut in foreign aid to Pakistan. USA, please don't partially cut the aid but cut it off 100%, as it only goes into the pockets of the Zardaris, Nawazs, Gilanis, Altafs, etc etc. To the Indians here, please don't worry as we Pakistanis know just where the aid goes - into the politicians pockets!! Long Live PAKISTAN but Death to its politicians!!!!!!!