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Can Pakistan survive without US aid?

Published Feb 15, 2012 05:28pm


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Several policy-makers, politicians, and development professionals in the west believe that the economic survival of Pakistan rests on handouts from the United States. Often American legislators ridicule Pakistan for willingly accepting American dollars in charity, but not delivering on American demands in return.

The Westerners are not alone in believing that Pakistan’s survival rests on handouts from the US. While speaking on Canadian TV earlier this week, Raheel Raza, a Canadian of Pakistani origin, argued the same. “Ever since the inception of Pakistan the United States has given Pakistan aid without which it cannot survive,” said Ms. Raza.

The US economic and military assistance to Pakistan indeed has a long history stretched over decades during which several American governments have poured billions of dollars into Pakistan. The question, however, is to determine first why Americans aided Pakistan and second what was the money intended for. And even more importantly, one should determine if indeed Pakistan’s economic survival rests on American aid.

The British newspaper Guardian maintains an active database documenting six decades of American aid to Pakistan. The data is compiled by Wren Elhai of the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC. The database reveals that since 1948 the US assistance to Pakistan has largely been for civilian purposes. Of the $61.7 billion in total assistance (in constant 2009 dollars) provided to Pakistan between 1948 and 2010, $40.4 billion were provided for economic assistance and $21.3 billion in military assistance. The economic assistance to Pakistan peaked in the early 60s when in excess of $2 billion annually were provided to Pakistan.

Title: US Aid to Pakistan, 1948-2010, (millions, constant 2009 US$)

-Source: Guardian.

Since 1982, the United States has provided $17 billion in military assistance compared to $13.5 billion in economic assistance. This has largely been a result of covert and overt American military operations in Afghanistan that began in late 70s. And while there has been a slowdown in economic and military assistance between 1992 and 2001, the US revived its economic and military assistance to Pakistan after 9/11. In fact, since 2002 the US military assistance to Pakistan at $13billion dollars is two-times the economic assistance it provided to Pakistan. The dramatic increase in military assistance to Pakistan in the recent past has contributed to the weakening of democratic and civilian institutions in Pakistan, while it has helped strengthen military’s grip on the socio-political spheres in Pakistan.

One cannot consider military assistance as a favour to Pakistanis. In fact, the US military assistance has been instrumental in reinforcing Pakistani armed forces against the civilian governments. The American military and economic assistance offered to General Zia in early 80s and later to General Musharraf since 2002 are examples of how American funds have strengthened military dictators against civilian setups in Pakistan. Notice in the above graph how the US assistance has largely been absent in the 1990s when parliamentary democracy prevailed in Pakistan.

In 2010, the US economic assistance to Pakistan equalled $1.8 billion. While the amount is indeed large, however on a per capita basis, this translates into a mere $10.3 for the 180-million Pakistanis. Should we believe that Pakistan’s survival has rested on a mere $10.3 per person in civilian assistance from the United States?

Some fact-checking is indeed in order. Pakistan is a $175 billion economy. Since 2002, the US has provided on average $825 million annually in economic assistance to Pakistan. On the other hand, Pakistani expatriates have remitted on average $1 billion each month in 2011, making remittances an order of magnitude higher than what the US has been providing to Pakistan. I would argue that Pakistan’s economy owes much more to what the expatriates contribute than what comes in charity from the United States.

While I remain grateful to American taxpayers who have contributed billions of dollars to Pakistan, for instance, American help with the rescue and relief efforts after the floods in 2011 is indeed commendable, I must also point out that the American wars in the region have played havoc with Pakistan’s economic and social infrastructure. According to the Government of Pakistan, the direct and indirect costs from Nato’s war in Afghanistan, which began on October 07, 2001, has reached over $68 billion. These economic losses are an order of magnitude higher than what the US has offered in economic and military assistance to Pakistan. And who to account for the 36,000-plus Pakistanis who have perished as a result of the Nato' war efforts in the region. A fair compensation would require the US to engage the United Nations to verify Pakistan’s claims and then reimburse Pakistan in full for proven claims.

-Source: Pakistan Economic Survey: 2010-11.

* The 2010-11 figures are estimated from 8 months of data.

The nature of development aid business is such that large sums of donated money in fact return to the donor country in the form of contractual payments to consultants and manufacturers. I recall listening to the former World Bank president James Wolfensohn in 2004 at the 16th Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics in Washington DC where he offered his candid views about how development aid was misspent by donors. In 2003-04 development aid was estimated at $58 billion of which $14 billion were pocketed by the consultants alone.

The billions of dollars in US military assistance to Pakistan are no different which in fact help sustain the defense economy in the US. Pakistan ends up buying US-made weapons and fighter jets from the very military assistance it receives from the US, and money it borrows from international lenders.

I also recall listening to Hans von Sponeck, the former head of UN operations in Iraq who resigned in February 2000 to protest against UN sanctions. He explained in an interview in Islamabad how aid agencies prefer spending aid money on brick and mortar, and not on developing human capital. Furthermore, aid funds are often abused because of cost overruns. Consider the mismanaged construction of the waste water treatment plant in Fallujah, Iraq. An audit by the US Special Inspector General revealed that the plant was to be built for $35 million to serve a population of 100,000. Years later, the partially built plant served only 38,400 people after American contractors had spent over $108 million. Latest estimates suggest that the waste treatment plant would consume another $87 million before it will be completed in 2014.

In the proposed budget for 2013, the Obama administration has set aside $2.4 billion in spending related to Pakistan. $800 million out of the $2.4 billion are earmarked for counter intelligence in KP and Fata and for other security operations. $200 million have been earmarked for discretionary spending by the US diplomatic missions in Pakistan. While it appears that huge sums of money will again flow to Pakistan, the reality is that often the planned funds never reach Pakistan. Consider the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill (The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, 2009) that set aside a total of $7.5 billion in assistance to Pakistan spread over five years. The disbursement under the bill was to begin in 2010. However, the funds have not yet been appropriated. At the same time, the US legislators continue to chastise Pakistan for taking US funds (hitherto not provided) but not delivering in return!

Earlier this week, Pakistan’s parliament unanimously passed a resolution condemning the US Congress for conducting hearings about the insurgency in Balochistan. The resolution stated: “the house rigorously condemns and does not accept the hearing by the US congress and considers any such attempt an open intervention in state’s sovereignty and its internal affairs.” Parliamentarians of all political complexions, who were deeply incensed by the US intervention in Pakistan’s domestic affairs, set aside their differences in passing the resolution. I believe that Pakistan’s Parliament should now pass another resolution stating that it will not receive any additional charity from the United States. Knowing that there have always been strings attached to the funds that came from the US, the Parliamentarians should therefore consider US economic and military assistance to be a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Refusing aid and other assistance is a prerequisite for Pakistan’s economic recovery. The billions of dollars in aid have distorted markets in Pakistan and have subsidised the civil and military elite. Pakistan’s foremost economists, such as S. Akbar Zaidi and others at the Planning Commission in Islamabad, have argued for a secession of aid as a precondition for restructuring Pakistan’s economy to make it self-sufficient over time.

Pakistan’s elite and middle class have to rise to the occasion to help resuscitate the faltering economy. Pakistanis have to pay taxes so that their government can refuse aid from others. Unless Pakistanis demonstrate the willingness to carry their own weight by paying taxes, there is no hope of an honourable existence for Pakistan in the community of nations.


Murtaza Haider, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean of research and graduate programs at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Toronto.  He can be reached by email at

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Murtaza Haider is a Toronto-based academic and the director of

He tweets @regionomics

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (97) Closed

Immad Zafar Feb 15, 2012 06:00pm
Well researched and deliberated article
M. Anwar Qureshi Feb 15, 2012 06:31pm
Its a good well researched article. Like what President of Pakistan says that we need Trade and not Aid; but I would go a step further to suspend all types of aid to Pakistan because it all goes to the pockets of corrupt politicians and the rulers and poor masses suffers. On top of that State Bank of Pakistan is daily printing money of Rs. 3 Billion for Government expenses which has caused INFLATION in the country. Even SBP should stop printing money for the Govt and Govt should learn to live within its resources. Why these politicians dont pay income tax on their agriculture income. Why Zardari not allowing to bring back USD60 million from Swiss Account!!!! Ultimately all this type of articles are only meant for writing, but serves no good purposes: no control and no regulation of state affairs. But such types of articles are good enough for brain teasing.
shahis Feb 15, 2012 07:12pm
Dear Haider, there is no doubt in what you have presented, let's hope it has some effect on the people of Pakistan.
jamal Feb 15, 2012 07:15pm
very well written article. when people talk about pakistan or any other (brother) country giving aid to pakistan, its not charity. imagine a pakistan with no aid from ANY country and not protecting interests of ANY country. it would have gas pipelines from Iran, sea port at gawadar, railway links from sea to china drastically reducing shipping time and impacting many neighbouring ports, probably not lending a helping hand to suppress protests in bahrain, etc.
Vidyut Feb 15, 2012 07:25pm
Superb post. I think the government should listen. However, I think a part of the reason the fiction continues is where the money goes and what it does. While the amount is small, the way in which it is given gives a few people in power control on how it is used, leveraging personal influences. On America's side, it is helpful as a strategic exertion of influence. Money by itself is no value, but for the power it brings. So, until all options fail, greedy people in power will continue to appreciate it, because a national budget just isn't the same thing. Completely agree on the devastation of social and economic fabric of the country. Not to mention the birth of extremism as a strategy, that is now strangling you all. If your government can take this advice, it may be the only survival Pakistan has, in the current disintegrating situations.
Shumaila Feb 15, 2012 07:55pm
As an Economics student, I can very much agree that aid distorts markets, and only if it ends can Pakistan's economy possibly improve.
Ahmad Zubairi, MD Feb 15, 2012 08:02pm
Excellent article I always believed the contribution of expatriates is huge but did not realize that it is so much. Time to start spending judiciously and not take any aid. Nice work on the article.
Noor Jahan Feb 15, 2012 08:23pm
Pakistan survive without US aid for sure. In fact Pakistan never needed US aid. Most of the Pakistani People from overseas send money to their families and lots of Pakistani income depend on them.
Zubair Feb 15, 2012 08:38pm
I agree with Jamal 100% above. Pakistanis need to get smarter and refuse aid from all countries. Pakistan will be prosperous because of that.
Silajit Feb 15, 2012 09:33pm
Please stop saying that Pakistan is losing money fighting the US war on terror. It is not. Pakistan is losing money fighting the TTP. That may be Pakistan's war on terror. It surely is not the US war on terror. The US pays Pakistan to fight the Afghan Taliban against whom nothing has been done. So it's pure profit for Pakistan. Pakistan may not have spent that money well. That's not the fault of the US.
Rehman Feb 15, 2012 09:38pm
Another article that propagates the myth that Pakistan is not compensated enough for fighting the US war on terror. Pakistan fights the Pakistani Taliban not the Afghan Taliban - for which it is paid. Please stop the finger pointing at outside elements for Pakistani money problems. It doesn't help Pakistan.
Sohrab Feb 15, 2012 09:42pm
Let's stop patting our backs and blaming other people. Ofcourse Pakistan like any other country needs no aid. Let the people of Pakistan rise up to the occasion and simply start paying taxes like rest of mortals in the world...and hey you will have no reason to blame it to others and write these articles and waste time on multiple dinner and tea conversations in the country because everybody will be working hard to fulfill their fudiciary responsibilities.
Agha Ata Feb 15, 2012 09:50pm
Yes. Middle class and elite would have to feel responsible to rebuild Pakistan, but unless corruption is controlled, everyone pays taxes, and the size and power of the army is reduced by cultivating friendly relationship with neighbors based on mutual trust that progress would always be at the risk of dropping back to square one!
noman Feb 15, 2012 10:03pm
Yes, we can survive without US aid by implementing honesty in life and loyalty for the Country.we have taken many thing from the Europe and US in the form of money but instead we have lost lot,you can see hatred among peoples,our nation disintegrated in different provincial division.we have done every thing just to please US government inreturn we have F16 to fight with our nation not for justice.we develop our strategic and scientific research program to defend our people,but in response our agencies develop fake and fictitious drama of osama in pakistan,no one knows except US and pakistan about the truth.we have soo many evil things in our society but still we have a slogan that we have a Islamic Society,we can obey laws outside the country but we cannot follow laws and regulation in our country.Still we say that we can Live and Survive without US aid,i do not know what type of nation we are.A murderer politician rules over nation for 4 years and still we talk about living
malik Feb 15, 2012 10:13pm
Are we going to demand a change or just talk about it. The time is right demand a change and then when that change will not come, then we the people of Pakistan have to step out and get rid of these corrupt regimes that feed on this Aid culture,they get fat and enjoy the money while we the people suffer humility and the degradation.
Shamroz Feb 15, 2012 10:20pm
Thanks a lot,ibeen saying that for last fifty years. Thanks again
Ravi Feb 15, 2012 10:22pm
Very good article. Superb.
mudassaryaqub@ymail. Feb 15, 2012 10:32pm
well crafted and very informative work done by the man.
Rajeev Feb 15, 2012 10:41pm
The analysis is good. The only thing that Pakistan has to understand is to start working on creating a strong domestic economy like India to avoid any dependence on donors. Pakistan needs to analyze whether its strategy for Afganistan/Kashmir is really good for its own people. First its own house needs to come in order before trying to influence external factors.
Deo Feb 15, 2012 10:54pm
Hi. A great article. What you say about Pakistan holds for most of the developing nations, but espacially for both India and Bangladesh. Foreign aid could be good, but in limited quantities and for very specific and well thought purposes. More or less all the countries, and Pakistan (a country of more or less 200 million hard working and intelegent people) is no exception. Pakistan can easily survive and develop by relying on its internal resources. Make a better use of your human resources insteaded of exporting them to either to the West or to Arab/Middle east nations.
Ali Akbar Feb 15, 2012 11:01pm
Murtaza/Dawn, could you please state the name of the agency/ministry in the Government of Pakistan that cites the 36,000 figure (number of deaths due to war on terror) and the estimates the of physical and social infrastructure at $36m? Thanks
Sunil Feb 15, 2012 11:25pm
Time and again I hear this excuse that America's war in Afghanistan has destroyed the economy of 'innocent' Pakistan (being a neighboring country); but is it really so? Why this America's war has not destroyed the economy and security of other neighbors of Afghanistan? Is Pakistan really 'innocent'?
Neil Feb 15, 2012 11:28pm
The money that the expat community sends back some from the US, UK and other such donor countries., where such expats are lucky enough to find jobs and send money back. It doesn't come from thin air. Something to keep in mind, when indulging in petty jingoism...
Hazqeel murtaja Feb 15, 2012 11:44pm
I prepare for css exam when i imagine the future of pakistan i really feel sorry for my country. Bus ye he duwa hay k Allah ham sab par apna reham farmaye.
rashid Feb 15, 2012 11:56pm
The article contains enough facts to open the eyes of country's leadership.
Chandler Feb 16, 2012 12:31am
The author writes "I believe that Pakistan’s Parliament should now pass another resolution stating that it will not receive any additional charity from the United States. " I am wondering when the parliament will pass such a resolution. Most likely, we will have to wait for a long long time.
Weel Wisher Feb 16, 2012 12:33am
Welll! As they its always takes two to tango! Do not blame US for all your woes....... many of which are eating away your country.....introspection will surely help.....Look within and u will get all the answres. God Bless!
nadim Feb 16, 2012 12:46am
Japan took the same aid, used it wisely and became super power, India took the same aid and became a super power by using it in the most profitable fashion, same was with South Korea, Germany and Russia. Why this racist country called Pakistan could not do so. The main problem is not aid rather the following: * Unwillingness of the masses to get education and establishment of a federal system of scientific education all over Pakistan at the same time * Religious insanity and associated illiteracy * Racism and dominance of Punjabi Nationalism treating Pakistan as a colony * Inability of Pakistanis to evolve as a nation based on one language and culture
Falcon Feb 16, 2012 12:55am
As always, great job Murtaza Bhai for a well researched article.
Mansoor Qureshi Feb 16, 2012 02:56am
No country in this world can survive without any kind of aid. Challenge is how sincerely and intelligently loan should be used. Unfortunately Pakistani ruling elite i.e civil as well military has miserably failed.
Abbas Jafry Feb 16, 2012 04:09am
Congratulation for writing such in depth and well researched article. Maybe someone from the Pakistani Government should read it. But maybe...... They all know about it and choose to ignore it. Thank you Murtaza, I always look forward to your blog.
Imran Feb 16, 2012 04:24am
As an expat myself who sends money home every month i can vouch for the fact that overseas Pakistani's are ready and willing to send more to our country of origin but we are waiting for a leadership to emerge in Pakistan that we can trust and who will not loot and plunder the hard earned money of not just overseas Pakistani's but of all citizens of this land of the pure.
Shafi Feb 16, 2012 04:25am
Pakistan should learn to survive without any aid. If A neighbor can do it why can't Pakistan? Pakistan has huge resources and potential, all It needs is peace, stability and honest patriot politicians. Alas, we are missing the right ingredients.
Prem Feb 16, 2012 05:45am
I completely agree with you... The reason behind success of these aids are fulfillment of "personal ambitions" and "need for power" of elites.... "I want extension"... "I want home in dubai".... "I want plot in france".... "I want role in politics also".... "I want to be in good touch with US".... all these things are creating room for US symbolic aids..
National Jewels Feb 16, 2012 06:18am
What about the nukes? Bhutto said, we will eat grass for 1000 years to get them. Seems like his prophecy has come true.
Selvam Feb 16, 2012 07:11am
When can we expect a similar article about Saudi/UAE funds flowing into Pakistani government/ NGO pockets? Its is not hard to argue that those funds were more destructive to Pakistan's fabric than those of the US.
reddy Feb 16, 2012 07:13am
the first part of this article is saying aid is not needed, in the end again begging for aid. also the author nicely avoided to mention the aid is being used to target India. pak is born blind.
Siva D Feb 16, 2012 07:40am
I love the common sense message of Dr.Haidar and his plain and direct style of writing. I am a regular reader and a fan.
Samad Javed Feb 16, 2012 07:46am
If USA really wanted to help us..they would give us trade deals, not aid deals..America has our own interests.
Salman Shahid Feb 16, 2012 07:52am
As with many developing countries Pakistan indeed did not and does not need foreign loans. The same have always been used as the quintessential tool for modern day colonisation. To better understand the process one should read 'Cinfessions of an economic hit man'
BRR Feb 16, 2012 07:57am
Depending on foreign remittances of Pakistani diaspora is a short term solution, weaning oneself out of aid mentality is a long term solution. However, the bigger issue is tax collection and being able to pay for govt. expenses. Seems like aid, or no aid, it is still a big, big problem.
Shahzad Feb 16, 2012 08:10am
Very well articulated. Self suffiency is the only way forward for an "independant" Pakistan
sfyn2it Feb 16, 2012 08:16am
Excellent. Thanks for writing this.... Only one item to reiterate from yoru writings....During the 90's, when there was a civilian government, the aid to the Pakistanis was almost 0. This is a clear sign that civilian government, not military dictortarships, would help Pakistan get on its feet.
Singh from USA Feb 16, 2012 08:20am
"who to account for the 36,000-plus Pakistanis who have perished as a result of the Nato’ war efforts" These people killed by your own non-state actor or asset. don't blame on US, India or Israel. Stop spreading this lies.
g.a.shirazi Feb 16, 2012 08:32am
We can live within our means if can control our population. Without that we will be back to square one.
chandler Feb 16, 2012 08:59am
The author writes, "I believe that Pakistan’s Parliament should now pass another resolution stating that it will not receive any additional charity from the United States." I guess we will have to wait for a long long time for that resolution to pass in teh parliament.
mohammad Feb 16, 2012 09:28am
excellent. WE DO NOT NEED american aid.
rajesh Feb 16, 2012 10:25am
When a child born, it can not sit or walk and at that time it reuire external /mother help. But when the mother not allowing the child to walk without her help and the child dont want to walk on its own, then the child will never learn anything.
Sharma Anil Feb 16, 2012 10:49am
Any country taking aid from USA will be impoversihed and ruined by their subsequent manipulations. Daily insult to the country will be a bonus for their aid. Better to keep untrustworthy USA at an arm's distance.
Noaman Feb 16, 2012 11:15am
Excellent article on the topic. Really impressed
wajahat ali khan Feb 16, 2012 12:39pm
pakistan can live with out US aid thousend time better then now.if govt of pakistan make a commety to think how it is possiable
liaqat Feb 16, 2012 01:05pm
well said
putar Feb 16, 2012 01:45pm
Aid has never helped a country. It makes the rich more rich and the poor more poor as it discourages reform and distorts the economy of the recipient country. Pakistani people can definitely live without US aid but it cant be said with surety about the Govt & Military. I feel that Pakistan should reject the US aid
zafar jafri Feb 16, 2012 02:54pm
I agree 100 % with Nadeem. You have to be smart to use the money ( loan or aid ) for developing the people / society---- education, health,ifrastructure, future....and not the military only. The fundamental wrong with the country is a group's hegemonistic attitude towards others since 1947. It has to stop; Pakistan is for people from Karachi to Karrokarum.
james Feb 16, 2012 03:45pm
At least now say no to American aid and try to stand on its own legs. all the systems will learn to stand on its own leg. it would be better for a developing democracy. also it would instill self respect among the people. james
S.Nasir Mehdi Feb 16, 2012 03:59pm
If we have honest middle class government we need no aid from any where
Humayun Bhatty Feb 16, 2012 04:09pm
Good facts and figures. The single item solution that you advise, refusing the aid, in my opinion, may not be strong enough to work just on its own. As they say you may put in the finest seed into the ground and it would not flower unless the ground is prepared for the seed. Same in Pakistan. In my personal opinion, Pakistanis have gone too far adrift from the True Islamic Values and are at the mercy of the chaotic tides wherever they are driven away. The closest example I can give is of Malaysia. It rose from the ashes both spiritually and economically hand in hand. One can not work without the other. When someone says, what about the Europe, my answer is they have adopted and acquired all the basic tenets of Islam on humanity, equality, fairness and justice. The only thing missing in them could be the Kalima e Shahadah. It amply goes to prove that returning to the pure roots of Islam is the only solution combined with all the worldly plannings and strategies.
Naveed Feb 16, 2012 04:26pm
Despite having 5 time the military, you are still afraid of Pakistan. It would be better to disassemble your military and spend the money on something you can be proud of.
Abdur R. Talukder Feb 16, 2012 04:31pm
I am fully agreed with sfyn2it. The foreign aid is not really a good sources always. First of all it brings corruption,and makes sloth the govt. sponsored development programs. There are lot of nations in the world who are building their own countries with their own resources or, with the limited support of the foreign countries. Malaysia is one of the big example. The donor countries they offer aid with various conditions. This is the way they purchase the recipient govt. and at one stage, they penetrate and occupy the internal sovereignty of that country. 'Live and Let Live' proverb does not match with their work and character. Believe in your own strength, depend on your own commitment that you gonna bring the justice and happiness for your poor people and commit your selves that you will honestly work for bringing the prosperity of your country. Inshallah, you will be a successful nation in the world!
Naveed Feb 16, 2012 04:32pm
yes Neil, it comes from people living/earning in other countries. But it is their money earned while doing jobs they deserved.I am pretty sure they worked hard to get those jobs and were not "lucky".Stop belittling expatriates contributions.
Shuaib Feb 16, 2012 04:31pm
Mr. Singh while living in USA, it looks like what you have recommended whereas ground realities are different. Just see and grasp what people like you "from USA" have been commenting that Pakistan cannot live without US aid but fact of the matter is not that!!! So just chill at "USA" and follow your own media
Muhammad Alvi Feb 16, 2012 04:40pm
I read the article and most of the comments. All agree that Pakistan need not accept aid from USA or other countries. I myself fully agree. Foreign aid has not helped Pakistani people; it only feeds the corruption by government officials. It is well known to the US also, but it is paid as a bribe.
manu Feb 16, 2012 05:07pm
Let the ad be shut tomorrow - what is the plqn for this situation. Let Pak : i. Curtail defence expenditure (means peace with neighbours ) taxes iii stop wasting funds to aid terror groups iv crack down on corruption v adopt irrigation efficiency and increase ag productivity vi. Stop treating Balochistan as internal colony vii. Expatriates do not send money for patriotism but for safety and best returns
Dr Khalid Mahmood Feb 16, 2012 06:04pm
Excellent explanations of the facts. Pakistan's story is not different than Africa where whole world is pouring aid but it is not solving the problem. The day we know that we have to stand our own feet. Pakistan do not aid, we only need HONESTY that will bring peace, prosperity. We need to take small steps and carefully tackle the major issues, Energy, Food, Education and Health. We don’t need expensive White Elephant that is eating major chunk of our budget... Our establishment is corrupt, we need a new Accountable system, our Courts have to free. At the moment Supreme Court is playing the headlines without giving attention to solve other grave issues. They need to address corruption from the grassroots, the Patwari, police. They are root cause of 99%of the problems in Pakistan. When you could buy the law then there is no need to obey it. Pakistan is blessed by natural resources and fertile land to grow food. We could be not only self-sufficient but could earn foreign exchange. The example is there we produce record Wheat, cotton, Rice, sugar cane. We could even supply in the region. We have become more lazy and in stead of solving the issues, we only complain, we need a courage to say no to AID and work on our own and Insha ALLAH we could recover if we are united and hardworking Nation.
Dr. Zubairi Feb 16, 2012 06:05pm
Once again , there is no such thing as aid as such unless it came to exists for the aid of the people of Pakistan. It has been our understanding that these funds are mostly loans and Pakistan pays about 400 million dollars annually on the interest. Pakistan's journalists should stop using the word "aid" for these misplaced loans. Use the word aid if you can identify a specific project for the benefit of the people.
Sahr Hasan Feb 16, 2012 06:11pm
a very interesting article indeed. -
Sameer Feb 16, 2012 08:49pm
Looks like you have no knowledge of the past or the present. These "non-state" actors that you mention were created by the CIA to fight the war with USSR. Now second reason to blame US, the war in Afghanistan was for the benefit of security of US citizens, and the threat of "either you are with us or against us" was the thing that makes USA responsible for all these deaths. US Army was so incompetent that they didn't do their job properly in Afghanistan and fled to fight an Oil War in Iraq and didn't finish off the terrorists (or mujahedeen as they were called back in the 80s by CIA). If they would have dealt with their toys from the past war against USSR properly, we wouldn't have lost so many lives. Know your facts before showing your ignorance to the public.
ravi Feb 16, 2012 10:21pm
Who said we're afraid of Pakistan? We need a minimum deterrence against china, whose military I do concede is bigger than ours. Pakistan is not even in the picture anymore.
Nasrullah Khan Feb 17, 2012 05:10am
Totally agree with Silajit.
Anon Feb 17, 2012 05:19am
your comment worth a thousand of the article that you commented on.
khans4 Feb 17, 2012 09:03am
God help those who help themselves as said by late Maulana Halee.
Mohammed A. Sukhera Feb 17, 2012 10:21am
Pakistan's economy has been going downhill for decades. We can talk about economic woes for years and it’s not going to help us unless we take practical steps to jump start the economy. Our economic system is a bottomless hole in the ground and we have seen that billions of dollars of foreign aid has not helped us. There is one great advantage for Pakistan to compete with other counties is the abundant cheap labor. Here are some of the steps the government can take to change the economic system. 1: Privatize all money losing enterprises (PIA, Railways, steel mill, telecommunication, WAPDA, Post office, Banks and insurance companies etc) and pay off foreign debts. The government officials are totally incompetent to run these enterprises and they are losing millions of dollars annually. The country can’t afford huge losses year after year. Actually they are the breeding grounds for corruption and mismanagement. 2: Establish simple procedures for individuals to start their own business. 3: Improve the law and order situation in the country where people can do business without any fear for their life. 4: Private property rights and laws against nationalization and fair tax laws. 5: Negotiate with foreign companies to set up factories in the country or face stiff custom duties. This is the reason that most of the Japanese auto makers are building their cars in the US.
Piyush Feb 17, 2012 11:54am
Recently when India awarded the 20 billion fighter plane to a French company, many British Parliamenterians called India ungrateful and called for stopping of all aid. British aid to India and that too for social causes is all of 218 million pounds per year. So a giver will always feel himself much superior that he should be and with Billions of dollars involved - U.S. will always look down upon you.
Rashid Feb 17, 2012 12:27pm
yes n Good, pakistani can help themsalves
Khalid Malhi Feb 17, 2012 12:34pm
We can survive without the aid of USA ,our economy has shown 3.5% growth under such pressure created by wage war by Nato and USA force, further these forces are helping terrorist and insurgent to destroy our economy and infrastructure,actually they aid to destroy a country never build a country so we will be happy if they leave us alone because their economy is war related and killing humans is their mission.
fahd Feb 17, 2012 02:06pm
a very informative article . Nice work please keep them coming. We need articles with hard data and critical analysis
Vin Feb 17, 2012 07:41pm
Pakistan is a Nation with a rich history. It has a structured Administrative, Judicial and Executive set up. Its Armed Forces are modern and efficient. Many nations in Africa and South America pale in comparison to what Pakistan has. Human and natural resources are all here. What it needs a vision. Pakistan has to decide its priorities and an achievable and measurable time table and implement them. Wake up Pakistan, wake up.
Fawad Rafi Feb 17, 2012 08:14pm
I admire that such stats were provided. However, I seriously doubt that the direct and indirect cost of Nato's war in Afghanistan since 2001 has exceeded $68 billion. Obviously the corrupt Pakistani government would overstate such figures. The whole article is based on the $68 billion dollar assumption which it claims is a liability for Pakistan and since it has only received $61.7 billion since 1948, therefore the US relationship has caused nothing but a deficit of more than $6.3+ billion. The question Murtaza Haider should have raised is that, does it worth to have US as an ally if we assume that there is still a surplus, i.e. whether we have received more in aid since 1948 than what we spent i.e., loss of infrastructure, people, and loss of dignity?
Bharat Feb 17, 2012 09:05pm
Pakistan has enough talent and potential to become a successful nation without any ones help. The only problem is the politicians and radicalism that has made the average pakistanis life miserable. I wonder why this radicalism cant be curtailed.There is no one who can do that i feel. Most Pakistanis are fed up of the liers. But the people have to realise that the radicalism has to be curbed first to progress. If it is curbed, stability and success will follow soon.
Farooq Feb 18, 2012 02:39am
well researched and well balanced article. The whole issue of US aid has to be evaluated on a cost/benefit analysis. Pakistan has paid a very heavy price for that US aid over the years and dont forget America has used Pakistan for its own interests and objectives over the years. Real economic support has come from pakistanis working abroad and sending remitances back home. Real problem of Pakistan is and always has been WIDE SPREAD CORRUPTION. Proof is in the form of $200-$300 billion parked in Swiss banks by corrupt Pakistanis.
Taatya Singh Feb 18, 2012 04:40am
What are you doing? This has been the most successful way of preventing questions being asked about where the money went or why we have an insurgency to begin with. The easy answer is it is because of the war on terror. You're going to spoil it for everyone.
ahmer Feb 19, 2012 12:47pm
nice and very informative article well i believe that as a good pakistani we must start thinking that how to get rid of helps and loans from other countries, how we shall learn to live from our resources.
mudassir shah Feb 20, 2012 05:15pm
good informative ariticle about pak u have any plan through which we can secure self sufficiency.mudassir
Syed Australia Feb 21, 2012 06:57pm
Excellent article, its time for Pakistan to stand on its own feet.
F K Feb 21, 2012 11:29pm
Here's another question. If the US and any other Western nations had an acrimonious relationship with Pakistan and barred remittances to the country by Pakistanis living in the the West, what would happen to Pakistan's economy? I agree with many others that Pakistan can eventually live without US/IMF/WB aid but that will take time. This still wouldn't mean that Pakistan could have a hostile relationship with the west as the remittances would still be needed. And if we do assume that there are hundreds of billions of dollars sitting in Swiss banks that were stolen from the gov't of Pakistan, which is a huge assumption to make, why are we also assuming that we can easily get this money back?
Mohdudul Huq Feb 22, 2012 12:37am
When politicians stop stealing public money and resources then Pakistan can able to stand on their feet.
Shafi Feb 22, 2012 01:33am
Most Pakistanis only help themselves!
Dil Feb 22, 2012 02:12am
Well written In order for the private sector to provide the kind of wealth creation the writer talks about, the key element that is missing is investor/business and consumer confidence. This happens largely due to the failing security situation and energy. It is not the people/business not paying their fair share of taxes but failed political leadership that miserable failed not only to deliver on energy and security issues but also, failed to reform an overarching military and security bureaucracy that appears to have gone out of control. Once these matters are taken care of, many Pakistani are just waiting in the wings to return with their monies and skills.
James Feb 22, 2012 05:32am
Kalyan Feb 22, 2012 07:15am
As an American taxpayer I agree with the author. Declining aid will benefit everyone. Pakistan leaders will be forced to formulate better policies for economic development and the US Government will hopefully invest our tax dollars in Scientific R&D and infrastructure that has been falling apart here.
Amit-Atlanta-USA Feb 22, 2012 07:20am
The greatest issue with Pakistan is its’ next to nothing credibility. Nobody trusts the figures of losses to Pakistan's economy as Pakistani economists have proven incapable of even estimating e the losses to sick govt. outfits like PIA, Pakistan Railways and Pakistan Steel. Even accounts of combat losses are taken with a lot of skepticism given that Pakistan never allows any independent journalists in their combat areas. For example, the US federal accounting office found that the bills were inflated by over 40% and in many cases they were outright cooked up. Also Pakistan is largely to blame for the humanitarian losses. As Hillary Clinton said you can't rear poisonous snakes and expect them only to bite your neighbors! All said & done there's no doubt Pakistan benefits from the aid, else they would not have taken it for decades!
jalaluddin S. Hussai Feb 22, 2012 09:45am
Excellent article. Pakistan can survive, in a more dignified way, without the paltry American charity. It is about time that Pakistan starts walking without the "American crutches". It is just humiliating!
iqbal Khan Feb 22, 2012 09:53am
What is there to survive.You cant go down further than this.Majority of the people cant eat more than one meal,water is contaminated,all kind of milawat in food products.People are malnourished,millions are drug addicts,suffering with all kind of diseases, institutions have been collapsed the list is end less.Might as well stop the US aid,trust me nothing will happen to Pakistan
Ghalib Feb 22, 2012 11:59am
Excellent Article Sir, This is what i have been arguing with my friends for a long time now, only issue in this is that what expatriates transfer does not directly goes into corrupt politicians pockets, on the other hand what Aids comes from other Govts. major chunk of that goes to is anybody's guess. What we Overseas Pakistanis need to do is to rely more on official transfers do there may be very slight loss in conversions plus invest in good projects. I t is the time do something rather then just talk about it,
wahid shah Feb 22, 2012 12:40pm
i simply say commoner citizen can survive but our politician an other big stackholder can not survive
Justin Ying Feb 26, 2012 09:54pm
Beautiful article. Thank you so much for clarifying Pakistan's stance on aid.
funnyphuppo May 16, 2012 05:49am
Seems I read this article 12 weeks too late, but still great job. It strengthens my perspective that the people of Pakistan can help Pakistan more than anyone else can.