WASHINGTON: The US State Department on Monday announced that its budget proposals for the fiscal year 2019, which begins in October this, include both economic and military funds for Pakistan.
The military funds for Pakistan, however, include a condition which requires Islamabad to a decisive action against the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups to receive the assistance.
The largest unconditional budget requests are from the Economic Support Fund and Economic Support and Development Fund of $200 million each for 2018 and 2019 and also $200m set aside for 2017 are also mentioned. These funds are not affected by a recent US ban on aid to Pakistan.
On Jan 4, the Trump administration suspended its military assistance to Pakistan over the alleged existence of terrorist safe havens on its soil and over its alleged links to the militants fighting in Afghanistan.
But Mondays’ budget requests endorse a State Department announced last week that US security assistance to Islamabad could be resumed if Islamabad took the required action against militants.
The request includes $200m for Pakistan from the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund and the request includes a justification for Congress, saying: the “resources will help reduce opportunities for violent extremism in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region: and will “strengthen societal resilience to violent extremism.”
The requested funds will “expand private sector-led inclusive economic growth, including pursuing private-public partnerships with both US and Pakistani firms.”
The assistance will support the government of Pakistan’s efforts to provide improved access to and quality services for its citizens, implement political and economic reforms, and foster a more inclusive and tolerant environment, says the State Department.
Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2018