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The true cost of the War on terror in Pakistan

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2/3 OF THE US AID WERE SPENT DIRECTLY ON WAR MACHINERY
40,000 KILLED SO FAR
100,000 WOUNDED

by Imran Bajwa

(November 11, Lahore, Sri Lanka Guardian) With over forty thousand Pakistanis killed and over hundred thousand injured (still counting) and the whole nation terrorised & hopeless, one may ask whose war is it anyways. And what were the bounties for the "Frontline State".

The world image of Pakistan is going to its lowest abyss, flight of talent & capital, rampant inflation, rising debt or the move over from Kalashnikovs (AK-47 guns) to ball bearings.

America had been a true friend all along.

Very few people realize that a total of 14 Americans (al-Qaeda’s original enemy), got killed within Pakistan since 9/11. These included twelve American servicemen, Daniel Pearl (journalist) and a diplomat.

Who, in Pakistan, actually owned major stakes in the economics of this longest war in American History? _ Pakistan's Armed Forces, International & Local NGOs and General(R) Musharraf .

Pakistani citizens, generally, just got USAID wheat sacks besides makeshift tents and that too in emergencies like flood and IDP situations.

Two third of the US aid were spent directly on war machinery

Out of the USD 17 billion or so, allotted to Pakistan by US, so far, as support for war on Terror, over two thirds have gone directly into the War Effort and War machine. Pakistan’s armed forces bought around USD 6 Billion worth of arms and armaments, mostly India Specific, during the last nine years, as also admitted by Gen Musharraf. More than half of this money, already paid, under Foreign Military Fund (FMF), provided by Americans, never actually got to Pakistan. The shopping list includes F16's, Naval Reconnaissance planes & Frigates, Bombs & Missiles.

These weapons allotted or delivered during last nine years were roughly double than the total US arms imported by Pakistan during last 55 years, from 1947- 2003. Hats Off to Pakistani defense establishment for having such a silent victory. Over Half of the above investment in Arms & Ammunitions were covered by Americans through Foreign Military Finance (FMF) Facility while the remaining half has been committed share of Pakistani Government i.e. USD 3 Billion (Rs. 255 Billion).

It is interesting to note that Pakistan is perhaps the only country in the world which actually pays for half of the weapons it buys from USA. This is a historic pattern with Pakistan since SEATO/CENTO (A period of 1954 TO 1974) up till now and being America’s Frontline ally didn’t change the rules of business for Americans. Other Muslim allies of US like Jordan & Egypt don’t pay any significant money for American Arms despite the fact the Egyptian imports of US arms are actually ten times those of Pakistan.

It is even interesting to see how this Arms business was a win-win for both Parties involved. Pakistani Establishment filled its armouries, after a long time, for any potential war with India while America sold its weapons to a poor third world country at a direct cost and bagged matching orders i.e. USD 3.5 Billion from India, during Obama’s visit to Dehli. To amply top that up, the Indian Air Force, only last week, announced plans to buy another USD 29 billion worth of Weapons and Fighters with Major chunk again going to USA. When realized, that makes 5 times Pakistani Defense purchases since 9/11.

American troops might leave the region in near future but the Arms Business will keep flowing back home from South Asia.

Another big chunk of USD 8 Billion have been paid against Coalition Support Fund (CSF) and Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund ( PCCF).These funds were reimbursed directly to Pakistan Army against Logistics and war effort, as per claims provided directly by them. The Americans reportedly didn’t pay anything to Pakistan against depreciation of her arms and also for combat related loss of life and injury.

The Condolence payment or compensation for every American soldier killed, in the war on Terror is USD 400,000 ( Rs. 34 million) while no compensation has reportedly been paid to the dependants of Pakistan Soldiers who died in the line of duty. Even civilians deaths are not compensated.

The economic aid component of American support against the War on Terror

Over 80 percent of this aid goes to the Economic Support Fund (ESF) which helps Pakistan offset some of the immediate and short term financial impacts of this war. Around two thirds of this total economic support has been channeled into Pakistan through USAID. Most of this AID money, around $ 6 billion till date, had not been paid directly to Government of Pakistan. The USAID actually released these funds to about two dozen predominantly American NGO’s after deducting its Administrative and oversight charges.

The American NGO's, in turn, funneled this aid to their country offices in Pakistan and some Pakistani NGO's, after deducting their management costs. These INGO's & local NGO's then channeled this American Aid to different projects after budgeting their respective oversight and administrative costs. More than a quarter of the apportioned aid gets wasted because of this cumbersome process of aid money changing hands.

To have an Idea, one of world’s largest American NGO i.e. Care Inc., also active in Pakistan, claims to use 9% of the aid money for support services and advocacy. On US Aid to Pakistan, these management & oversight charges are deducted by three separate entities before the Aid dollars reach to the really deserving people of Pakistan. This unnecessary tri-partite split of aid dollars amongst NGO's and the further profit-taking by private contractors & vendors in Pakistan ( currently charging around 30% in gross profits) decrease the allotted aid to roughly half of the total aid committed under USAID before it gets invested in actual projects on Ground.

The viability of these USAID/ NGO supported projects and their efficacy is best known to everybody involved in this sector. Unnecessary consultancies and commissions to aid agency procurement staff (currently about 8-10% of the Award value) involved in this split exacerbate the downstream disbursals even further.

One of the biggest and most reputable Government supported NGO in Pakistan called Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) reportedly got just around six million dollars out of this American economic Aid of $ 6008 million since 2002.

Most of the American NGO’s acting as conduits of this American Aid never fully disclose their respective projects on ground. A brief summary of this aid business involving American NGO's, however, is provided in the attached budget summary of USAID in 2008& 2009. This a commonly known fact in Islamabad that $ 3,000 House rentals and Rs. $ 4000 hiring charges of land cruiser used by each Foreign Aid official per month is a norm. The security companies engaged to ensure their safety adds up to these Aid management costs. Dar Speigel (a German magazine) reported that up to 80% of the Aid Dollars, in Afghanistan, for example, actually trickled back to the International Donors.

Evaluation of services and contribution of American NGO’s in Pakistan.

Six American NGO's got budget allotments of between 20-40 millions dollars each during the last two years. These were John Snow Inc (JSI), Winrock International, American Institutes for Research (AIR), Academy of Educational Development Inc (AED), CDM Constructor Inc. and Care Inc. Out of these JSI is basically a healthcare consultancy and have basically provided one maternity doctor and two supporting nurses to 24 districts in Pakistan besides providing training to midwifes and investing in Health centres. Their PAIMAN Programme is popular in NGO sector and their funding was around USD 40 Million in 2008.

Red Crescent Pakistan or Edhi Trust or any other local NGO could have done the same very job in less than one tenth of the cost. The result being that this PAIMAN programme for the health of mother and new born babies could have been spread and expanded in all ( over 100) districts of Pakistan.

AIR Inc. another NGO provided Teachers Training to 11,000 Pakistan teachers at a cost of $ 40 million in 2008. That comes to Rs. 300,000 invested in educational training of one Pakistani teacher. Any efficient and credible Pakistani NGO could have multiplied this effort to over 100,000 teachers with the same funds impacting the primary and secondary education throughout Pakistan in a real big way.

Yet another American NGO called AED inc. which specializes in tackling social problems thru education spent tens of millions of dollars to arrange training visits of 250 Pakistani teachers to America during 2003-2006. AED was given a further budget of $ 40 million budget in 2008, the details of its usage are best known to them. The last two major American NGO’s ( namely Care Inc. and Winrock International) were given around $ 30 Million of USAID funds each in Pakistan do not divulge their project details for public consumption .

Around 84% of total USAID budget marked for Pakistan in 2008 was actually channeled thru American NGO’s. The only Pakistani Institution which benefitted significantly from USAID funding was Khushali Bank in microcredits funding. This resulted in USAID direct cash contributions to the upgradation of Public sector Power Plants IPP’s and Tarbela Dam to the extent of $ 68 million in 2009 besides cash contributions of $ 85 million towards Benazir Income Support Fund ( BISP).

The AID also did directly finance some work on rehabilitation of South Waziristan and Malakand besides helping the displaced IDP’s of these conflicts in a significant way.

Overall, the American funding on economic support of Pakistan didn’t actually achieve any "High Visibility" success mainly due to the mode it adopted for disbursal of these funds. This leaves us with the final beneficiary of the American Funding to Pakistan for War on Terror i.e. Gen. (R) Musharraf.

General Musharraf, obviously, extended his unconstitutional rule over Pakistan besides doing what he liked doing, stuffing long denied collectible arms in Pakistan’s national armoury. The General thought he did an excellent job for Pakistan without realizing that he was just another customer in this global trade in armaments and the business of war. "Pakistan First, India Later".

About the Author: Mr. Imran Bajwa is senior researcher and executive editor of Ham Shehri, Lahore. Email address: kamran@sahara.com.sa


This article originally appeared on the humanrights.asia

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