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Smile Research Reports on various National and International Issues

This thread is dedicated for good, analytical and css related research reports published by various famous think tanks around the world. You may participate.


Though the report is a little biased in favor of India however speaks much about Pakistan's internal mismanagement regarding water management in the country.


Hydropolitics in Pakistan’s Indus Basin | United States Institute of Peace


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Smile The U.S. Should Maintain Aid to Pakistan, Especially in Educationm - Brookings

The U.S. Should Maintain Aid to Pakistan, Especially in Education

Rebecca Winthrop, Director, Center for Universal Education
Anda Adams, Associate Director , Global Economy and Development, Center for Universal Education

The Brookings Institution

In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden, a great deal of the debate on Capitol Hill has focused on the efficacy of U.S. aid to Pakistan. Against a background of tight budgets and a broader debate on U.S. foreign aid, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have voiced varying views. Some have been adamant about freezing and even eliminating aid to Pakistan, while others are staunch in their belief in maintaining support to the country at this critical point in time.

Congressman Ted Poe has sponsored legislation “to prohibit assistance to Pakistan” while Speaker of the House John Boehner asserted that “it’s not a time to back away from Pakistan: it’s time for more engagement with them, not less… aid should continue to Pakistan.” In the Senate, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein recently questioned whether the U.S. should continue to provide aid to Pakistan, voicing a clear break with her colleagues, Senators John Kerry and Dick Lugar, who have been stalwart supporters of aid to Pakistan.

Since 2001, the majority of U.S. assistance to Pakistan – more than $20 billion – has gone to Pakistan’s military. Recognizing this imbalance in support, the 2009 legislation introduced by Senators Kerry and Lugar sought to “promote an enhanced strategic partnership with Pakistan and its people” by authorizing $7.5 billion over 5 years in non-military aid for democratic governance, economic freedom, investments in people, particularly women and children, and development in regions affected by conflict and displacement. In addition to being an overt attempt to win “hearts and minds” by focusing on Pakistan’s civilians, the bill also signaled a shift to a more stable allocation of aid to a country that has experienced extreme volatility in U.S. aid levels over the past fifty years as geopolitical interests have shifted.

In principle, the bill sought to transcend the fluctuations of bilateral government relationships to directly serve the “people of Pakistan” through a deeper, broader and longer-term engagement with the country’s citizens.

Reneging on the multi-year pledge of billions of dollars cuts at the very core of the desire to build a relationship with the Pakistani people. Pakistanis are generally very skeptical of U.S. development assistance, believing it to be closely linked with U.S. military interests. The initial controversy over the Kerry-Lugar bill in Pakistan reflects this, as does the increased support for the U.S. following its flood relief assistance. The efforts by the U.S. to help Pakistani flood victims across the country – not just in the Taliban-ridden Federally Administered Tribal Areas – demonstrated to Pakistanis that the U.S. genuinely cares about their well-being separate from its national security priorities. Cutting development aid in response to the news that Osama bin Laden’s long-term hideout was in Pakistan will have the opposite effect.

Maintaining economic assistance to Pakistan, despite the very real concerns the U.S. government has about Pakistan’s military and intelligence services, would be one important way to show Pakistani citizens that the U.S. is serious when it says it cares about their livelihoods. Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Jim Moran have suggested useful approaches to moving forward with aid to Pakistan. The former has proposed that aid be cut to those institutions found to have supported bin Laden and Al-Qaeda and the latter has stated that aid to education and economic development be maintained above all else.

Congressman Moran’s proposal to maintain education aid to Pakistan would be well received by Pakistanis, especially if new aid models and streamlined aid processes are utilized to maximize benefits for the country.

Education is highly valued by Pakistanis, but unfortunately there is a severe shortage of quality learning opportunities in the country, especially for poor rural communities. Girls in these areas are often the worst off. Pakistan ranks as one of the countries with the most out-of-school children. There is huge demand for education from Pakistani children and their parents but one-third of children ages 6-16 cannot read a simple story and only half can write a sentence. Pakistani youth want to acquire the skills needed to enter the workforce, yet one out of every four youth ages 10 to 19 never get inside the classroom.

There are excellent Pakistani civil society organizations that have a proven track record in expanding quality education, particularly for the marginalized. For example, vast improvements in education can be attributed to the work of the Aga Khan Education Services-Pakistan, the Citizens Foundation, and the Children’s Global Network, among others. In just a few years, the Citizens Foundation has quickly scaled up its work to provide quality schooling for over 100,000 poor children from urban slums and rural areas.

The Pakistani government, on the other hand, has demonstrated a more mixed record, often varying by province. In Sindh province, the reform-minded Education Secretary Naheed Durrant was just replaced after only five months on the job after challenging corruption in teacher hiring. Other provincial governments are working much more proactively to make needed reforms.

There is a growing grassroots movement demanding quality education services for all citizens with media companies, such as GEO TV, hoping to increasingly amplify these voices in the future. This demand for education reform can be reinforced by the U.S. government in two ways: first, by directing resources directly to the civil society organizations leading the reform efforts on the ground; and second, by utilizing diplomatic channels to encourage the Pakistani government to incorporate these innovative models into the broader education system.

The citizens of Pakistan deserve a clear message from the United States that it is truly interested in their well-being, including meeting the demand for reforming education. Development assistance to improve education in Pakistan, if done effectively, is one major area that can support and improve the livelihoods of Pakistanis. These core elements of non-military development are where the U.S. government should be investing its resources to establish a stable and long-term relationship with Pakistan.

The U.S. Should Maintain Aid to Pakistan, Especially in Education
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Smile Getting the military out of Pakistani politics: Foreign Affairs Journal

MAY 01 2011 ,Foreign Affairs

Getting the military out of Pakistani politics


Pakistan is unlikely to collapse anytime soon, but the imbalance of power between its civilian and military branches needs to be addressed if it is to become an effective modern state. Washington must stop coddling Pakistan’s military and instead work patiently to support the country’s civilian authorities.

BY Aqil Shah


The United States has a major stake in Pakistan’s stability, given the country’s central role in the U.S.-led effort to, in U.S. President Barack Obama’s words, “disrupt, dismantle, and defeat” al Qaeda; its war-prone rivalry with India over Kashmir; and its nuclear arsenal. As a result, U.S. policy toward Pakistan has been dominated by concerns for its stability—providing the reasoning for Washington’s backing of the Pakistani military’s frequent interventions in domestic politics—at the expense of its democratic institutions. But as the recent eruption of protests in the Middle East against U.S.-backed tyrants has shown, authoritarian stability is not always a winning bet.

Despite U.S. efforts to promote it, stability is hardly Pakistan’s distinguishing feature. Indeed, many observers fear that Pakistan could become the world’s first nuclear-armed failed state. Their worry is not without reason. More than 63 years after independence, Pakistan is faced with a crumbling economy and a pernicious Taliban insurgency radiating from its Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the semiautonomous seven districts and six smaller regions along its border with Afghanistan. It is still struggling to meet its population’s basic needs. More than half its population faces severe poverty, which fuels resentment against the government and feeds political instability.

According to the World Bank, the Pakistani state’s effectiveness has actually been in steady decline for the last two decades. In 2010, Foreign Policy even ranked Pakistan as number ten on its Failed States Index, placing it in the “critical” category with such other failed or failing states as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia. The consequences of its failure would no doubt be catastrophic, if for no other reason than al Qaeda and its affiliates could possibly get control of the country’s atomic weapons. The Pakistani Taliban’s dramatic incursions into Pakistan’s northwestern Buner District (just 65 miles from the capital) in 2009 raised the specter of such a takeover.

Pakistan is, of course, a weak state with serious political, economic, and security challenges. But it is not on the fast track to failure, ready to be overturned by warlords, militants, or militias. It has an incredibly resilient civil society, which has proved itself capable of resisting both state and nonstate repression. Its numerous universities, assertive professional associations, vocal human rights groups, and free (if often irresponsible and hypernationalist) media sharply distinguish Pakistan from the likes of Afghanistan or Somalia. And its bureaucratic, judicial, and coercive branches still have plenty of fight left in them. The country’s political parties are popular, and parliamentary democracy is the default system of government. The Pakistani military, moreover, is a highly disciplined and cohesive force and is unlikely to let the country slide into chaos or let its prized nuclear weapons fall into the hands of Islamists.

But although Pakistan’s army is professional, it has no respect for the political system. It has not mattered whether the army is under the command of a reckless figure, such as General Pervez Musharraf, or a more prudent one, such as the current chief of staff, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. As an institution, it deeply distrusts politicians and sees itself as the only force standing between stability and anarchy, intervening in politics whenever it decides that the politicians are not governing effectively. These repeated interventions have weakened Pakistan’s civilian institutional capacity, undermined the growth of representative institutions, and fomented deep divisions in the country.

Pakistan is unlikely to collapse, but the imbalance of power between its civilian and military branches needs to be addressed if it is to become a normal modern state that is capable of effectively governing its territory. For its part, the United States must resist using the generals as shortcuts to stability, demonstrate patience with Pakistan’s civilian authorities, and help them consolidate their hold on power.

THE CAPACITY DILEMMA

The Pakistani military’s political power is a historical legacy of the country’s birth. The immediate onset of conflict over Kashmir in 1947–48 with a militarily and politically stronger India made the military central to the state’s survival and placed it above civilian scrutiny. Today, after four wars with India, the military filters every internal and external development through the lens of Pakistan’s rivalry with India. Civilian governments, such as the current one, headed by President Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and those headed by Nawaz Sharif ’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have typically operated in the military’s lurking shadow.

The military has frequently co-opted Islamists to advance its domestic and regional agendas. In the late 1970s and into the 1980s, the generals, especially the U.S.-funded military dictator General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, used Islamism to gain political legitimacy. Zia suppressed secular political rivals, such as the PPP, by jailing and torturing opposition leaders, banning political parties, and enacting harsh Islamic laws to appease allies in Islamist parties, such as the Jamaat-e-Islami. Zia also armed Sunni sectarian groups in order to balance the country’s Shiite minority, which had been emboldened by the recent Iranian Revolution. State patronage of violent extremism deepened sectarian rifts, militarized the society, and empowered radical Islamists, all of which in turn eroded the state’s own writ and authority.

Flush with U.S. cash, the generals also fomented militancy in Kashmir to keep India bleeding and sponsored fundamentalism in Afghanistan to give Pakistan strategic depth against its archrival. Yet faced with U.S. President George W. Bush’s famous ultimatum after 9/11 to either cut the military’s ties to Afghan militants or prepare for war, Pakistani President Musharraf ostensibly jettisoned the generals’ black-turbaned allies. He granted the United States access to Pakistani air bases, expanded Pakistan’s intelligence cooperation, provided logistical support for the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, and helped the United States with its primary objective—killing or capturing members of al Qaeda. The United States was content with this level of cooperation and did not press Pakistan to help stabilize Afghanistan or target the Afghan Taliban, who had fled to Pakistan in the wake of the U.S. invasion.

Yet by 2004, the Taliban threatened to undermine the Afghan regime from their stronghold in Pakistan, and the Bush administration demanded that Pakistan address the problem, “the sooner, the better” in the words of Zalmay Khalilzad, then U.S. ambassador to Kabul. Since then, the Pakistani military has targeted militant groups in several parts of FATA and in the Malakand region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the North-West Frontier Province).

But the military has a pick-and-choose approach to counterterrorism, even though terrorism poses a grave threat to Pakistan’s internal security and stability. It has targeted members of the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan and other administrative agencies in FATA, for example, but has persistently refused to take action in North Waziristan, which is the headquarters of the Haqqani network, an al Qaeda– affiliated Afghan militant group that leads the cross-border insurgency in eastern Afghanistan. It also continues to allow top members of the former Afghan Taliban regime to operate from Pakistan’s major cities, especially Quetta and Karachi. Although Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant group that carries out attacks in India and Indian Kashmir, is formally banned in Pakistan, it continues to operate through proxies and aliases, recruiting operatives, organizing rallies, collecting funds for its “charitable” activities, and publishing proselytizing jihadist materials in plain sight of Pakistani intelligence authorities.

Although ending the insurgency in Afghanistan will require more than just eliminating militant sanctuaries in Pakistan, the Pakistani military’s reluctance to target Afghan militants in North Waziristan has been a particularly sore point in its relationship with the United States. U.S. officials believe that the lawlessness of North Waziristan hampers the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan, since insurgents can easily escape to safety on the Pakistani side of the border. For its part, the Pakistani military denies sheltering the Afghan Taliban anywhere in the country and claims that it cannot expand its operations into North Waziristan because it is stretched thin by its existing deployments and is short of critical military hardware, such as attack and transport helicopters.

Several U.S. and Pakistani observers agree with this assessment. Writing on March 23, 2010, in The New York Times, the Brookings fellow Michael O’Hanlon argued that Pakistan “simply does not have the military capacity to make major moves against the Afghan fundamentalists.” Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell reportedly believes that Pakistan needs more armaments to successfully fight insurgents on its border with Afghanistan. And Maleeha Lodhi, former editor of The News International and former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, similarly contends that pushing the military to fight on multiple fronts is likely to strain its capacity and undermine its existing missions.

Yet even if capacity is a genuine issue, it is not the reason that counterrorism in Pakistan has failed. It is a pretext for inaction, rhetorically implying that the military has undergone a strategic paradigm shift, seeing militancy as a threat to national security rather than as a useful tool of foreign policy. Yet there are reasons to be skeptical. First, the Pakistani military has shown that it does indeed have the tools it needs to fight terrorism in several tribal areas simultaneously when it wants to. Besides, it already receives enough U.S. security assistance—roughly $300 million since 2002 in foreign military financing and around $1.1 billion since 2008 for increasing its counter-insurgency capabilities, to be followed by $1.2 billion more next year— to acquire the capacity it claims to so desperately need. In contrast, in 2010, U.S. aid for Pakistan’s poorly paid, undertrained, and under-resourced police forces, which are crucial to fighting insurgencies, totaled a paltry $66 million.

Second, it is unlikely that the Pakistani military has truly changed its calculation of the strategic value of militant groups. Before it moved into South Waziristan in October of 2009, the military cited similar shortages in resources yet was able to conduct a full and relatively successful mission there, clearing the area, capturing or killing many militants, and dismantling their bases and training camps. Indeed, the military seems to confront only those militants who threaten and attack the army itself. When the Pakistani government requested that the military go into South Waziristan, for example, it dragged its feet for months and was spurred into action only after militants carried out a deadly attack on its heavily guarded headquarters in the northern city of Rawalpindi. At the same time, it holds those groups that do not threaten it, including the Haqqani network, as reserve assets for the endgame in Afghanistan, when U.S. troops start pulling out this July and eventually leave by 2014. In fact, Pakistan’s intelligence service has reportedly permitted Haqqani fighters to flee U.S. drone attacks in North Waziristan and relocate to bases in the nearby Kurram region.

Troublingly, the military’s capacity alibi shifts the blame for the strength of Pakistan’s violent extremists from the military—which has nurtured and legitimized the influence of radical Islamists—to civilian leaders and foreign patrons, who have supposedly neglected to provide the army with enough resources. Yet the extremists’ growth and power in Pakistani society are a direct result of the military’s pursuit of strategic depth against India. In fact, the military’s permissive attitude toward radical Islamists has allowed them to infiltrate the lower echelons of Pakistan’s security services. This worrying development was vividly demonstrated by the brutal murder of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, by his own police guard on January 4 for opposing the blasphemy laws. Brazen terrorist attacks have battered the military itself, and suicide bombings in major Pakistani cities, including a spate of them in 2009 that claimed over 3,000 lives, have undermined citizens’ confidence in the government’s ability to provide them with security. Surprisingly, such attacks have not seemed to erode confidence in the military, especially after it provided quicker and more effective relief than the government after last year’s devastating floods—although trust in the military should not be confused with public support for military rule.

CAN MIGHT MAKE RIGHT?

With all the resources in the world, the Pakistani military alone would be insufficient to conquer terrorism. So far, wherever it has tried to deal with militants, it has alternated between attempting to subdue them with brute force and, when that does not work, cutting its losses by appeasing them with peace deals. Both approaches have further fueled militancy. For instance, the military’s use of artillery and aerial strikes to “soften targets” (sometimes without sufficient warning to civilian populations) and its collective punishment of tribes (under the Frontier Crimes Regulation, the colonial-era law under which FATA is still governed) have angered and alienated locals, reportedly facilitating militant recruitment. In exchange for a cease-fire, the peace agreements have ceded territory to the militants and given them the space to openly recruit, train, and arm themselves.

The terms of the military’s 2005 deal with Baitullah Mehsud, who was the leader of the Pakistani Taliban until his death in 2009, for example, stipulated that the military would release captured militants and vacate Mehsud’s territory in return for a pledge that he would not harbor foreign fighters or attack Pakistani security forces. The military claims to have learned its lesson and has adopted a new strategy of counterinsurgency based on winning hearts and minds. But even in its recent campaigns, such as the 2009 offensives in the Swat Valley and South Waziristan, which were relatively more successful in terms of clearing militants and taking back territory, the military favored a heavy use of force and displaced millions of citizens. Moreover, it failed to capture or kill any significant number of senior Taliban leaders.

Militant extremism can be fought effectively only through serious governance reforms that ensure the rule of law and accountability. This will require a strong democracy, a viable economy, and well-balanced civil-military relations. In FATA, it will require abolishing the Frontier Crimes Regulation and integrating the region into the adjoining Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province to end the Pakistani federal government’s direct and oppressive rule, which the Pakistani Taliban have exploited to expand their influence, displace the already weakened tribal authority in the region, and establish parallel courts and policing systems in several FATA agencies, including North and South Waziristan. All of this seems daunting, but there is really no other long-term alternative. And despite its many failings and weaknesses, there are reasons to be optimistic about democracy in Pakistan.

If the “third wave” of democratization in the 1970s and 1980s had any lesson, it is that democracy does not necessarily require natural-born democrats or a mythically selfless political leadership. In fact, a strong democratic system can mitigate the baser instincts of politicians. If anything, the experience of countries such as Chile, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand in the last few decades shows that the strength and quality of democracy may be linked to the stability of the party system. This is good news for Pakistan. It is true that Pakistan’s civilian politics is dominated by a few families, namely the Bhuttos, who control the PPP, and the Sharifs, who control the PML-N. In a perverse way, however, the hold of the Bhuttos and the Sharifs on their parties may be one of the main reasons that these parties have survived the military’s divide-and-rule repression and may consolidate democracy in the future.

Already, the demands of governing seem to be putting some positive pressure on Pakistan’s politicians. The most recent civilian government is only three years old, yet the much-derided political elite seems to have developed a consensus that democracy is the only game in town and has enacted constitutional reforms to curb outsized presidential powers—an artifact of previous military regimes—especially the power to dismiss democratically elected parliaments and prime ministers, which past military or military-backed presidents used to neuter parliament. The government has also created new parliamentary committees to appoint Supreme Court and provincial High Court judges and the country’s top election officials, delegated some administrative and financial authority to the provinces, and raised the share of the federal revenue pool that the provinces receive.

The best way to further boost Pakistan’s democracy will be to habituate the military to democratic norms and raise the costs of undermining democratic governance. The current parliament has already removed some constitutional loopholes that military leaders used in the past to avoid prosecution for coups. It has also proscribed the judiciary’s frequent practice of legalizing military rule. But more direct attempts at exerting civilian control have backfired, including the government’s short-lived July 2008 decision to bring Pakistan’s secretive Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)—which technically answers to the prime minister but in practice operates as the military’s intelligence wing—under the control of the Interior Ministry. The move was reversed during a midnight phone call between an angry Army Chief Kayani and the prime minister. And now, the ongoing ethnic violence in the southern port city of Karachi and the politically charged turf battles between the PPP government and the Supreme Court over the judiciary’s encroachments on executive authority—such as its sacking of top federal officials, its creation of judicial cells to monitor specific corruption cases, and its fixing of basic commodity prices—could invite renewed military intervention.

But such setbacks are not uncommon in transitional democracies and should not prevent civilian politicians from continuing to take measured steps to establish civilian supremacy. For instance, instead of staying out of defense policy completely, the civilian government should call regular meetings of the cabinet’s Defense Committee to discuss and make key national security decisions. Civilians should also try to exert more control over the Ministry of Defense, subject military expenditures to vigorous parliamentary debate, create a bipartisan parliamentary subcommittee for intelligence oversight, enact legislation to bring the ISI under civilian control, and appoint a special cabinet committee to approve top military promotions and appointments.

OUT-OF-BALANCE BUDGETS

The other critical obstacle to democratization and stability in Pakistan is the country’s weak economic performance. The civilian government inherited a cash-strapped, highly indebted economy from the Musharraf regime and had to ask the International Monetary Fund for a $7.6 billion bailout in 2008 to avoid default. Last summer’s heavy floods, which displaced some 20 million people and caused considerable damage to Pakistan’s civilian infrastructure, dealt a devastating blow to the prospects of economic resurgence. Perceptions of widespread government corruption and civilian authorities’ apparent unwillingness to cut spending have not helped. Moreover, Pakistan has one of the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in the world—only two percent of the population pays any taxes at all—yet the government has not been able to agree on critical tax reforms.

Pakistan must also reckon with the need to alleviate the economic hardships faced by its poor. Skyrocketing inflation of basic commodity prices, chronic power cuts, persistently high levels of unemployment, and general lawlessness are fueling public resentment of the current government. Some observers fear that the downward economic spiral could play into the hands of Islamists, but there is no automatic link between economic woes and the influence of Islamists in public life. In Pakistan, Islamist influence has been closely tied to state patronage, not popular support. Islamist parties continue to perform poorly at the polls, never garnering more than 10–12 percent of the vote, whereas the two main moderate parties—the PPP and the PML-N—typically claim about 60 percent of the vote and 70 percent of the seats in the national parliament.

Still, Pakistan’s civilian government must stabilize the economy to bolster public confidence in democratic institutions. It must invest in Pakistan’s long-term economic development and create opportunities for the country’s rapidly growing population. It may even need a long-term, multibillion-dollar Marshall Plan to help build civilian institutional capacity, rebuild areas hit by last year’s floods, invest in public-sector and infrastructure projects, and plug the energy shortages that have all but crippled the manufacturing sector, especially its top-exporting textile industry. Of course, such a plan should come with proper controls to fight corruption and waste.

It is worth noting that Pakistan’s economic difficulties are the result not just of bad luck and poor management, and therefore they cannot be fixed with development aid alone. They are rooted in fundamental structural problems as well: military expenditures dwarf spending on development. Pakistan has one of the world’s largest out-of-school populations, yet it spends seven times as much on the military every year as on education, an investment with a higher national security payoff in the long run. Thus, the country must find a way to rationalize its military expenditures.

Some progress toward a resolution of the Kashmir conflict could induce Pakistan to scale back its military behemoth. It could also potentially reduce the attractiveness of using militancy as an instrument of foreign policy. As Steve Coll chronicled in The New Yorker in 2009, Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were quite close to reaching a breakthrough accord on Kashmir in 2008, but it was aborted by the rapid erosion of Musharraf’s authority in the face of domestic opposition to his dictatorial rule. The point is that only a strong, stable, and legitimate elected government will be able to mobilize the public opinion necessary to clinch a lasting peace with India. Both the PPP and the PML-N favor cooperation over confrontation in the region, and each has tried to mend fences with India, through high-level diplomacy as well as backdoor talks, only to be upbraided by the generals for compromising on national security. These parties need more room to pursue peace with India while holding the military at bay. This is something the United States can help provide, by firmly supporting democratic institutions in Pakistan even as it works with the military to fight al Qaeda.

NO MEANS NO

The Obama administration came into office in 2009 with a solid commitment to supporting Pakistan’s then year-old civilian democratic government as a hedge against militancy and terrorism. The Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill, which was passed into law as the Enhanced Partnership With Pakistan Act of 2009, authorized the U.S. Congress to triple civilian development assistance to Pakistan, raising it to $7.5 billion between 2010 and 2014. The aid package was designed to signal a new era in the United States’ relationship with Pakistan, shifting the focus of U.S. aid from the military to civilian democratic governance and social development. Continued military aid was also tied to a yearly certification by the U.S. secretary of state that the Pakistani military has refrained from interfering in politics and is subject to civilian control over budgetary allocations, officer promotions, and strategic planning.

Not surprisingly, the Pakistani military balked at this affront even as the civilian government welcomed the aid. Joining with opposition parties, the military publicly decried the bill as a threat to Pakistani national security and mobilized right-wing sections of the media against U.S. meddling. In response, the bill’s sponsors buckled and effectively defanged the conditionality measures. Even though the text of the law is intact, the United States meekly assured the Pakistani military that the intent of the conditions was misinterpreted and that the United States would keep its nose out of the generals’ business. Indeed, most contact between the two countries still occurs behind closed doors between the two militaries or between the CIA and the ISI. The CIA’s use of unmanned drones against militants in FATA, which are reportedly flown out of Pakistani bases, exemplifies this lack of transparency. The secrecy of the program allows both the United States and Pakistan to escape responsibility for civilian casualties.

The climb-down on the Enhanced Partnership Act indicated that even though the U.S. Congress recognizes the folly of building exclusive alliances with the Pakistani military, it still prefers engaging with Pakistan’s military over its civilian leaders. This is partly pragmatism: the military is still the most powerful institution in Pakistan. But by continuing to treat the Pakistani military as a state above the state, the United States only reinforces the military’s exaggerated sense of indispensability and further weakens civilian rule.

If the United States had stood its ground, the Pakistani military would have eventually backed down. It is dependent on the United States for military aid and high-tech armaments, including upgrading its aging fleet of f-16 fighters. And although the military has leverage over Washington since it controls U.S. supply routes into landlocked Afghanistan, its bargaining position has weakened over time.

Although Washington generally remains reluctant to pressure the Pakistani military, appropriately using sticks has not necessarily meant losing the generals’ cooperation in fighting terrorism. For example, the U.S. Congress warned that it would cut off U.S. aid in response to Pakistan’s detention of a CIA contractor, Raymond Davis, who was arrested in January for fatally shooting two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore. In the end, Davis was released from jail in March—the families of the victims agreed to pardon him after receiving compensation. His release would not have been possible without military complicity.

Such political and diplomatic pressure should be used to censure the military for political incursions. In this spirit, the United States should signal to the military that cracking down on terrorism is not a license for it to destabilize or overrun the government. The U.S. military should remind its Pakistani counterpart that interference in politics will not be tolerated and could have serious repercussions, including a downgrading of military ties, the suspension of non-development aid, and broader diplomatic isolation.

Although the United States is confronted with an economic recession of its own, more civilian aid for (and trade with) Pakistan would cost relatively little compared to the money that the United States spends fighting Afghan and Pakistani extremists. And the potential dividends could be enormous: U.S. civilian aid could help secure civilian rule in Pakistan for the long haul and diminish anti-Americanism as well. To reduce the danger of moral hazard, this aid should be tightly linked to Pakistan’s economic performance, progress in combating corruption, and transparency and responsiveness in government.

One relatively easy way for the United States to boost economic productivity in Pakistan would be to grant Pakistan emergency duty-free access to the U.S. market for textiles. This concession would face opposition from politically powerful U.S. textile interests, but the Obama administration should pursue this legislation on at least a temporary basis because it could crucially improve the economic stability of a vital ally by increasing the revenue it gets from this important industry.

Although a settlement of the Kashmir conflict is unlikely in the short term, Washington should continue to push both sides to achieve that goal. Of course, there are no guarantees that peace would be sufficient to reduce Pakistan’s military expenditures or restrict the military to its proper constitutional sphere. But it is worth the effort because the international community has a stake in ending the nuclearized Indian-Pakistani rivalry, which not only endangers global security but also has spilled into Afghanistan.

With over a hundred nuclear weapons, a war-prone rivalry with India, and the presence of some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists on its soil, Pakistan is too important to be left to the devices of its generals. For too long, the United States has sacrificed democracy for order. The results have been less than ideal, especially for the people of Pakistan. Pakistan urgently needs support from the international community to help stabilize its civilian democratic institutions and bolster its economy. Only such support will ensure its stability and reliability as a U.S. partner in the region.

(Republished with permission from Foreign Affairs)

Getting the military out of Pakistani politics
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Smile Civilian Military Relations Pakistan

CIVIL MILITARY RELATIONS
IN CONTEMPORARY PAKISTAN
DJ


re-prints Hasan Askari Rizvi's
comprehensive study of the subject from the Journal of the
International Institute for Strategic affairs



Governance in Pakistan is a delicate balancing act between the military chiefs and the elected civilian government. It is a power-sharing arrangement whereby the military has important influence over foreign, security and key domestic issues, and mediates confrontations among feuding political leaders, parties or state institutions- if such confrontations are deemed threatening to political order and stability. Although the civilian government enjoys considerable autonomy for political and economic management and exercise of state authority, it is expected always to consider the military's sensibilities. The military has repeatedly demonstrated that it can and will influence the nature and direction of political change without necessarily assuming power.

How to cope with this kind of 'soft' military intervention is a common dilemma for civilian leaders of states that have experienced prolonged military rule. The civilian regimes that succeed military rule face serious identity crises. On the one hand, these governments want to prove that they are not under the tutelage of the military and can act autonomously. On the other hand, they cannot afford to alienate the military leadership, whose support is crucial to their survival. Their task is complicated by the fact that the top brass are loath to surrender the power and privileges that they enjoyed during the years of military rule. The military ensures that there are sufficient constitutional and political safeguards to sustain their entrenched position in the period after their withdrawal from direct rule. Extended military rule in a multi-ethnic and diversified society also increases political fragmentation and creates vested interests supporting authoritarian and non-democratic political arrangements. These conditions make the task of political management difficult for any post-martial law civilian regime aiming to establish its credentials as a genuine democratic government while not alienating the senior commanders.

The Transition to Civilian Rule

The ascendancy of Pakistan's military began shortly after the country achieved independence in 1947. The rapid degeneration of the political process enabled the military to become an important decision-maker at the national level, culminating in the direct assumption of power by the Army Chief, General (later Field Marshal) Ayub Khan, through a coup in October 1958. He ruled under martial law until June 1962, when he civilianised his regime by co-opting some politicians and establishing a constitution which legitimised the continuation of his rule after the withdrawal of martial law. A second coup was staged in March 1969' by General Yahya Khan, who surrendered power to an elected civilian leader in December 1971' after the military debacle in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. The military overcame the trauma of defeat within a few years, and General Zia ul-Haq reasserted military dominance by overthrowing the civilian government in July 1977. He presided over the longest period of martial law in Pakistan's history (July 1977 December 1985) and handed power over to a civilian government through a carefully managed disengagement.

The civilian system that replaced Zia's military rule in 1985 enabled the military to shift its emphasis from overt 'rule' to a more subtle, but still ubiquitous 'role'. Instead of exercising power directly (although the coup option is still available), the military has become a formidable political actor, influencing the nature and direction of political change. This planned transition began when Zia introduced far-reaching changes in the 1973 Constitution, emphasising an all-powerful President (Zia himself) and a weak Prime Minister.

The Constitution was also amended to allow Zia to continue serving as Army Chief after the restoration of civilian rule (making him Pakistan's longest-serving Army Chief, from March 1976 till his death in August 1988). He created the semblance of a participatory system by setting up a parliament through non-party, regulated election and installing a docile Prime Minister, Mohammad Khan Junejo.

Zia saw his relationship with the Army as crucial to his survival and thus guarded its professional and corporate interests. He underlined his primacy in the political process, not merely through his enhanced presidential powers, but also by projecting his position of Army Chief as a 'bridge' between the newly established civilian government and the powerful armed forces.1 He periodically lashed out at the civilian government to keep it in line. When the Prime Minister tried to assert his autonomy, Zia sacked him in May 1988, thereby demolishing the civilianised system he had created. He was trying to co-opt another set of civilian leaders who could serve as 'adjuncts to military supremacy' when he was killed in an air crash in August.2
The military's decision not to assume power after Zia's death led to the holding of multi-party elections and subsequent transfer of power to a civilian government in December 1988.3 Since then, the Army Chiefs have emphasised professionalism and no direct involvement of soldiers in politics; they have generally supported the democratic process and civilian governance.4 This support is tactical, however, based on a realistic assessment of the political situation. It does not change the fact that they are central to the political process.

A Pivot in the Power Structure

The Army Chief is a pivot in Pakistan's post-1988 power structure. Together with the President and the Prime Minister, he constitutes one-third of the 'Troika' -an extra-constitutional arrangement for civilian-military consensus-building on key domestic, foreign policy and security issues. The Troika meets periodically; senior military and civilian officials are summoned to give briefings relating to the issues under discussion. The Army Chief also holds meetings separately with the President and Prime Minister on political and security affairs. Another institution that has gained prominence is the Corps Commanders' meeting. Presided over by the Army chief, this conference includes top commanders, Principal Staff Officers at the Army Headquarters and other senior officers holding strategic appointments. Its members not only discuss security and organisational and professional matters, but also deliberate on domestic issues such as law and order, and general political conditionsÑespecially when the government and the opposition are engaged in intense confrontation. These discussions are intended both to underline senior officers' political concerns and to develop a broad-based military consensus. Executing the consensus decisions is left to the Army Chief, thereby strengthening his position when he interacts with the President and the Prime Minister.

A smooth interaction among the Troika members ensures the military's support for the Prime Minister, which contributes to general political stability. If serious differences develop among these key players, political uncertainty and instability are likely. The Prime Minister - the civilian side of the power equation - can find him or herself in a difficult situation. The military is well placed to exert pressure on him. Furthermore, the 1973 Constitution, as amended by Zia in 1985, greatly strengthened the position of the President vis-a-vis the Prime Minister, making it difficult for the latter to emerge as an autonomous power.

The Prime Minster's position was boosted somewhat by an April 1997' Constitutional amendment curtailing the President's powers so that he cannot dismiss the Prime Minister. However, so long as the Prime Minister presides over divided and mutually hostile political forces, he will have to work in harmony with the President - and the Army.

The military's primary consideration is not direct exercise of power, but protection and advancement of its professional and corporate interests. If these interests can be protected, it would prefer to stay on the sidelines. Given military's political experience, organisational resources and institutional strengths, its senior commanders are reasonably confident that they can pursue such a strategy. The senior commanders are willing to negotiate their interests and accommodate the civilian leaders. What is not acceptable to them, however, is a frontal attack on their institutional and corporate interests as they define them, a deliberate campaign to malign the military, or unilateral decision-making by the civilian leaders on matters which directly concern them. They will not support a discredited civilian government nor allow the military's name to be used by civilian leaders, whether in government or in opposition, in their power struggle. The scope for manoeuvre for the civilian leaders can thus expand if they establish a relationship of trust and confidence with the military.

The Military's Interests

Among the Pakistani military's major interests and concerns, six stand out:

1. National security is obviously paramount. During the Zia era, the military directly controlled nuclear policy and the conduct of the Afghan War. Nuclear policy has remained their close preserve, even under civilian rule. Benazir Bhutto complained in September 1991 that she was denied information about highly sensitive aspects of the country's nuclear programme during her first term as Prime Minister. The role of the Foreign Office and the civilian leadership in formulating and implementing the Afghanistan policy increased after the 1989 withdrawal of Soviet troops, but senior Army commanders and the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) continue to have a significant input. Similarly, the Army maintains deep interest in policy towards India, including Kashmir. The military elite are not opposed in principle to Indo-Pakistani rapprochement, but they are concerned that the civilian government not ignore what they see as New Delhi's 'hegemonic' agenda. Strong and credible conventional defence and nuclear-weapons capabilities are considered vital to ward off Indian pressures and to enable Pakistan to conduct independent foreign and domestic policies. Unless the military is satisfied that there are credible guarantees against India's efforts to interfere, it will resist surrendering its nuclear-weapon option and advise caution on normalising relations. Furthermore, the military-like most civilian policy-makersÑwill not want to improve bilateral relations unless India addresses the issue of Kashmir.

2. Overseas weapons and equipment procurement is another military interest with foreign-policy implications. The three military services thus press the civilian government to pursue foreign policy to facilitate this objective.

3. Military autonomy and civilian non-interference in internal organisational matters and service affairs is jealously guarded by senior commanders. The service chiefs generally resist any Ministry of Defence tampering with their personnel recommendations, including promotions, transfers and postings. Military leaders view their autonomy and civilian non-interference as crucial in maintaining service discipline and professionalism. If the political leaders are able to make in-roads into the military and establish their lobbies, the senior commanders think, the military's overall discipline, organisational coherence and institutional capacity to cope with the political environment will be compromised.

4. The military is opposed to any unilateral cut in defence expenditure by civilian leaders. Its senior commanders are prepared to discuss budgetary issues with their non-military leaders, but they are opposed to critical public statements by government leaders or to any reduction that has not previously been cleared with them.

5. The repeated exercise of power under martial law has enabled officers to accumulate considerable perks and privileges, which the military inevitably wants protected - along with generally improving service conditions.

6. The military also expects a civilian government to ensure socio-political stability. The senior commanders therefore constantly review the government's political and economic management, especially its interaction with the political adversaries, the handling of law and order, and such issues as corruption, use of state machinery and patronage. Army Chiefs have not hesitated to comment publicly on the political situation, advising political leaders to put their house in order, not to crush their opposition, to settle contentious issues through political means and negotiations, and on the need to establish a corruption-free, transparent and effective administration. Their interest in these matters stems from the assumption that a polity in turmoil cannot sustain a professional military. Furthermore, with the military's industrial and commercial activities expanding through its four welfare foundations, the government's economic and industrial policies have also acquired direct relevance.5

On a number of occasions, top Army commanders have used their influence to moderate a conflict among the politicians and/or forced them into a settlement when they felt that a confrontation would cause a major constitutional or political breakdown. They supported the President in removing civilian governments in August 1990, April 1993 and November 1996, having concluded that these governments could no longer ensure domestic peace, stability and order. In December 1997, on the other hand, the Army ultimately supported the Prime Minister in his bitter confrontation with the President and the judiciary.

Civil Military Relations by Dr. Hassan Askari__________________________________________________ _____________

Extract from the article of Mirza Aslam Beg

The process of dismantling of the Nexus, now has started, first with the bold stand taken by the Chief Justice of Pakistan in March 2007, and subsequently, the very momentous decision by the Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani, for “not to engage or involve the Army in the election process of 18th February 2008” made all the difference. It changed the course of democracy in Pakistan. It also defeated the American – Musharraf plan for winning the 2008 elections in the manner, they had won in 2002. And from this point onwards, a great opportunity offers itself to the civil-military leadership to carve-out a new destiny for Pakistan.

The judiciary is independent and has discarded the mantle of Law of Necessity. The Army has found its proper place in its equation with the civil authority. The political opposition is not interested for regime change, despite the provocations. The lawyers and the media movement, has created a new awareness for change amongst the broad masses. The stage therefore is set for a bold decision to correct the course. Three steps are needed to set the fundamental direction right:

• Step One: Defuse the on-going controversy between the judiciary and the government. Independence of judiciary is sacrosanct, as much as is the sovereignty of the parliament. There are enlightened people on both sides of the fence and they will find the answer. Justice Jawad Khawaja’s recent comment is very re-assuring indeed: “We don’t claim any right beyond the will of the people.” A better understanding is developing between the two prime institutions.

• Step Two: Give a meaning to the decision of the three services chiefs of 17th August 1988, by establishing the post of Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) as recommended by General Muhammad Sharif Committee in 1975. Mr. Bhutto ignored this recommendation and suffered. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Mr. Nawaz Sharif both ignored my pleadings, to create the post of CDS. Nawaz Sharif ultimately had to bear the brunt. Why one may suffer any more?

• Step Three: Having created the post of Chief of Defence Staff, it would be proper to appoint General Kiani as the first CDS, for a three years tenure. His credentials are well established. And a new Chief of Army Staff may be appointed in his place.
With these steps taken, better harmony would prevail between civil-military relations and understanding would develop to safeguard the independence of judiciary and the sovereignty of the parliament. And from military point of view also, the appointment of CDS is as important, if we care to learn from history. The ’65 and ’71 wars were started without due coordination with the other two services and we suffered. The Kargil operation was a bad example. Now is the time to take this well-considered decision, as the bed-rock of harmonious civil-military relations.
Mirza Aslam Baig
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Smile Pak-Afghan Trade Cooperation

Inauguration of Bannu-Ghulam Khan –Kabul Road: Prospects for Pak-Afghan Trade Cooperation
Maryam Naseer


Strong trade and economic cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan hold multiple promises for both countries and their people particularly in political, economic and socio-cultural domains. The most important of them are establishment of friendly relations and economic interdependence between both countries, and economic and social security for the conflict-hit people across the Durand Line. Nonetheless, a durable solution to the common security threats of militancy and religious extremism lies in evolving a joint approach to counter these threats.

Despite being a landlocked country, Afghanistan’s geostrategic location as a doorway to energy rich Central Asian Republics (CRAs) gives it immense importance in relation to prospective regional economic integration of South and Central Asian regions. But nature of relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan – muffled by an environment of mistrust – large spread insecurity and violence in both countries, and strained relations between Pakistan and India are some of the many factors that hinder intra- and inter-South Asian regional economic integration. They have also impeded progress on implementation of some of the regional and mutual trade pacts and agreements such as South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), two gas pipelines to Pakistan and India from Iran and Turkmenistan, and recently signed Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA).

South Asian countries have however started to understand the benefit of regional trade and transit agreements. Bangladesh’s pitch for becoming a transit hub for India, Nepal and Bhutan is a shining example in changing attitudes in others countries of the region. Pakistan and Afghanistan have also started to realize role of bilateral and regional trade in socioeconomic development. The soaring energy needs of Indian and Chinese economies as well as energy crisis in Pakistan can be easily overcome, if normalization of trade and economic ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan takes place.

Although the bilateral trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan in the formal sector has improved in recent years yet most of the trade takes place in the informal sector, where the volume of clandestine business (smuggling or re-routing of Afghan transit trade goods) between the two countries is estimated to be more than 10 billion dollars. With regard to formal trade, against three million dollars in 2002, it increased to 492 million dollars in 2003-04 and climbed up to 1.63 billion dollars in 2005-06, but it witnessed a decline of almost 400 million dollars in 2006-07 because the Pakistani manufacturers have been losing out to mainly Iranian and Indian competitors. However, Pakistan has targeted to increase its exports to Afghanistan to two billion dollars by 2010-11.

In order to give a further boost and to formalize these trade relation a significant development took place in April 2011 when Pakistani Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani inaugurated the 80-kilometer long road project worth PKR 4 billion ($48 million)—being undertaken by Frontier Woks Organization (FWO), a subsidiary of Pakistan army—from the northwestern Pakistani town of Bannu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) to Khost province in Afghanistan via Ghulam Khan area of North Waziristan Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (FATA). Bannu-Ghulam Khan highway will pass through Mir Ali, the headquarters of North Waziristan Agency, and Miranshah that will serve as central connecting points between Bannu in Pakistan to Kabul in Afghanistan where Ghulam Khan will link Khost, Gardez and Ghazni. The new road is considered as the third commercial and diplomatic road network after Torkhum highway in Khyber Agency in FATA and Chaman town in Balochistan. The construction of this road will provide central trade route between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Further it has been planned to link this route with Indus Highway to make it a major road communication network with Afghanistan.

The road is a part of quick impact projects (QIP), signed between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistani Army on November 11, 2010—to improve livelihood opportunities and to initiate uplift schemes for development of militancy stricken areas of Swat and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

After successful completion of road construction, if it performs to its potential, it will not only decrease the travelling distance between Bannu and Kabul but will also reduce the traffic load on both Torkhum and Chaman border crossings in KPK and Balochistan respectively. Moreover, since the road has been built on plains of the Ghazni and Maidan Wardag provinces, unlike the zigzag mountainous road trails with their tortuous twists and turns on Torkhum and Chaman highways, this road link will ensure smooth passage to trade convoys to and from Afghanistan. The new road will also enable industrialists and traders from Punjab to easily dispatch products to consumer markets in Afghanistan and Central Asian republics.The road project will not only create multiple opportunities of trade but it will provide employment for approximately 2,000 locals. The project is expected to be completed in 18 months time but due to prevailing hostility and sporadic terrorist activities serious security concerns remain about feasibility as well as the utility of such a project which has to pass through conflict-hit areas throughout.

The construction of this road link brightens the potential prospects for the growth of close economic collaboration between Pakistan and Afghanistan. However some other steps are needed to speed up and strengthen the Pak-Afghan trade and economic ties.

With a view to give a boost to the trade in the formal sector, the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan need to tackle their internal conflicts and security problems through joint and mutually agreed mechanisms, without which realization of these goals is impossible.
The best option, which also appears logical in the context of the on-going economic globalization process, is to establish a free trade zone between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This will greatly help the economies of KPK and Afghanistan while, at the same time, bring smuggling down to a negligible level.

The governments of both countries should facilitate and encourage the traders and business communities to hold cross-border displays and other marketing events by making the chambers of commerce active.
Security is the prime concern of traders and business class. The governments should evolve some mechanism for that by using their respective security apparatuses and also the local populations on both sides of the border.
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Smile Pakistan 2020: A Vision for Building a Better Future: A report by Asia Society

NEW YORK, May 18: Preventing Pakistan from further deterioration will require a long-term commitment from the government of Pakistan and the United States and other international stakeholders to promote genuine reform, says a report by the Asia Society Pakistan 2020 Study Group.
The report launched on Wednesday says “this commitment must be enshrined in a comprehensive package of policies aimed at promoting sustainable constitutional democracy, credible and effec tive rule of law and law-enforcement, a significant expansion and improvement of the education and health sectors, and a peaceful resolution of the conflict with India”.

Economic growth and foreign investment in Pakistan arguably will follow such progress.

Some of the major recommendations of the report, titled “Pakistan 2020: A Vision for Building a Better Future”, authored by Hassan Abbas, a fellow at Asia Society and the Chairman of Quaid-i-Azam seat at Columbia University are:

• The process of democratisation must continue, as there is no other way to expand civilian control over all institutions of the state. Pakistan has been ruled by generals for over half its history – another military takeover would set the country back yet again.

• Pakistan’s military expenditures should be made more transparent, and there should be an increased civilian role in defence spending and security policy decisions.

• Independence of the judiciary — a major Pakistani achievement in recent years — needs to be further strengthened through respect for the separation of powers enshrined in the constitution and by providing financial autonomy to the country’s judicial institutions.

• To fix the education system, spending on schools needs to rise from less than 1.5 per cent to at least 4 per cent of gross domestic product – so girls don’t drop out, boys don’t end up in radical Madressahs, and Pakistan overall can take part in Asia’s boom.

• Along with proper upkeep of existing hydropower dams, more dams are needed to meet Pakistan’s current and future energy requirements.

• Without a drastic overhaul of law enforcement, Pakistan’s inter nal security situation could worsen further. Major financial investment is needed – for example, half of US funding allocated for counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency support could be directed towards enhancing the forensic capabilities of law enforcement and supporting scientific investigations.

• Pakistan must diligently pursue a peace settlement with India, and increased economic interactions with India will expand the space for a peace constituency in the country.

While Pakistan has a reputation as a source of instability in South Asia, it also holds the key to peace in the future. Declaring Pakistan a failed or failing state resolves little. By helping Pakistan remedy its dysfunctions, its friends and allies can help ensure better, the report said.

Speakers at the report’s launch included Najam Sethi, Pakistani journalist; Shirin Tahir Kheli, a deputy secretary of State in the Bush administration; and Frank Wisner, a Foreign Affairs adviser at Patton. In his remarks Mr Sethi asserted that “Kashmir is no longer a core issue for Pakistan” but “a core issue for India”, a statement with which many Pakistanis in the audience differed.




To Access full 60 page report, click this link
PAKISTAN 2020: A Vision for Building a Better Future
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Smile Fixing the US approach to Development in Pakistan - by Center for Global Development

Fixing the U.S. Approach to Development in Pakistan

In a new CGD report, U.S. and Pakistani development experts urge a substantial revamp of the U.S. approach to Pakistan, saying that U.S. efforts to build prosperity in the nuclear-armed nation with a fledgling democratic government, burgeoning youth population, and shadowy intelligence services are not yet on course.

Much of the report focuses on how to improve the U.S. aid program in Pakistan, but a revamped U.S. strategy would start with a greater reliance on trade—offering duty-free, quota-free access for all Pakistan exports to the U.S. market for at least five years—and increased incentives for investment, such as new forms of risk insurance and credit programs for Pakistan’s small and medium enterprises.


“The United States is way off course in Pakistan,” says CGD president Nancy Birdsall, who convened the study group and is the lead author of the report. “It’s heavily focused on security while neglecting low-cost, low-risk investments in jobs, growth, and the long haul of democracy building.”

The report says that the administration’s integrated “Af-Pak” approach—lumping Pakistan together with Afghanistan in policy deliberations and bureaucratic lines of authority—has “muddled” the Pakistan development mission. Similarly, “the integration of development, diplomacy and defense has . . . left the program without a clear, focused mandate.”

The report offers five procedural recommendations to get the U.S. development program on track:

Clarify the mission: separate the Pakistan development program from the Afghanistan program and from the Pakistan security program.

Name a leader: put one person in charge of the development program in Washington and in Islamabad.

Say what you are doing: set up a website with regularly updated data on U.S. aid commitments and disbursements in Pakistan by project, place, and recipient.

Staff the USAID mission for success: allow for greater staff continuity, carve out a greater role for program staff in policy dialogue, and hire senior-level Pakistani leadership.

Measure what matters: track not just the outputs of U.S. aid projects, but Pakistan’s overall development progress.

Among the report’s five substantive recommendations are three on better ways to deploy aid resources—including paying for verified outcomes and cofinancing with other donors for established education programs that are already working—and two on the largely untapped potential of trade policy and private investment.


Full 56 page report can be downloaded from this link:

Fixing the U.S. Approach to Development in Pakistan
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