Pakistan says it doesn't need US military aid
The $800 million in cuts in US aid to Pakistan are the strongest indicator yet of the deteriorating relationship between the two countries.
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Pakistan’s military has been under immense domestic and international pressure in recent months, following the raid to kill Osama bin Laden and another US raid on a naval base in Karachi attributed which analysts attributed inside assistance. Last week, Adm. Mike Mullen became the first US official to publicly blame the killing of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad on Pakistan’s government.Skip to next paragraph
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What happens to Pakistan's civilian government?
Cyril Almeida, a political analyst and Assistant Editor at Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English daily, says the cuts could harm Pakistan’s civilian government more than the military.
“The Army will dig in its heels. It’s going to call up the Finance Ministry and ask them to cut a check, and they will cut them a check, which will be financed by the State Bank or loans from private sector. Perversely, at the very time US aid is flowing, this will guarantee that things will deteriorate more [for the economy].”
The cuts could also have a harmful impact on Pakistan’s democracy, adds Siddiqa. “Historically, [foreign aid] is one of the reasons why political governments have been tolerated [by the military] in the first place. If they are not bringing in money, then why have them?”
Popular opinion in Pakistan is overwhelmingly in favor of less US involvement in the region and the Army may now be tempted to reassess its key partnerships, according to Saeed Shafqat, Director of the Centre for Public Policy and Governance at the Foreman Christian College University in Lahore.
But, warns Mr. Almeida, the political analyst, a further deterioration in ties with the US could leave Pakistan increasingly isolated on the world stage, given that it has not ramped up strategic cooperation with China or the Gulf states and the peace process with India remains slow.
“If at some point the Pakistan Army thought the US was no friend to Pakistan, it should have cultivated new friends in the mean time,” he says.