WASHINGTON: Pakistan will continue to be a key partner with the United States on counter-terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation goals, says a budget document US Secretary of State presented before the House on Wednesday.
The document, which Secretary Kerry also presented in the Senate on Tuesday, also identifies Pakistan as a partner “in achieving lasting stability and economic development in the (South Asian) region.”
Total assistance for Pakistan proposed in the State Department’s budget for fiscal 2016 is $ 803.8 million. The budget proposal for the last year was $ 881.8 million.
This is the first budget request after the expiry of the Kerry Lugar Berman Act 2009. Total expenditure request for Pakistan is $ 917. 4 million but this includes $ 113.6 million as operating expenditure.
There are some reductions in the budget request for Pakistan, as compared to the last year. Most of the reductions have been made in the Economic Support Fund.
The requested amount for ESF for fiscal year 2016 is nearly as much as finally confirmed for fiscal year 2014 after appropriation. So in essence there is no sudden drop in the allocation.
There is also some reduction in FMF (foreign military financing) and Pakistan was informed of this reduction during the last Defence Consultative Group meeting.
Islamabad identified as a partner in achieving lasting stability and economic development in South Asia
The State Department document argues that the requested funds for 2016 will build on the progress made in prior years through maintenance of the five-sector strategy that increases the generation and efficient use of energy.
It hopes to achieve this goal through reform efforts; increasing stability in volatile areas threatened by extremism, fostering economic growth and agricultural production.
It also hopes that US assistance will raise the access to, delivery of, and quality of education; and improving the government of Pakistan’s ability to provide health care to its population.
Funds are also requested for the Ministry of Interior’s Air Wing, which enhances law-enforcement operations against traffickers, militants, and criminals, as well as counter-narcotics activities and programmes to strengthen Pakistan’s justice and corrections sectors.
The administration is also seeking some funds for Pakistan from the Global Threat Reduction programme , which supports tailored activities aimed at reducing the threat of terrorist or state acquisition of WMD materials and expertise.
There is a separate request for funds from the International Military Education and Training programme for providing professional training to defence forces.
Published in Dawn February 26th , 2015