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‘Pak aid pales next to US bailouts’

world Updated: Apr 11, 2009 00:19 IST

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US aid to vital but fragile security ally Pakistan pales next to the billions of dollars spent bailing out American carmakers and financial firms, Pakistan’s envoy said on Thursday.

“A company at the verge of failure is quite clearly able to get a bigger bailout than a nation that has been accused of failure,” Ambassador Husain Haqqani said in remarks at a Washington think tank. “That’s something that in this town needs a review,” he said, calling for investments in schools and infrastructure to help nuclear-armed Pakistan fight Al Qaeda and home-grown extremists battling the civilian government in Islamabad.

Pakistan and Afghanistan deserve more resources than “some failed insurance company or some car company whose achievement is that they couldn’t make cars that they could sell,” said Haqqani.

The envoy did not mention companies in his apparent dig at multibillion-dollar government bailouts for the insurer AIG and General Motors. The Obama administration has pledged $7.5 billion in civilian aid to Pakistan over five years.

Pakistan said last week it would ask its allies to provide up to $30 billion in aid over the next 10 years at a conference in Japan this month.

Haqqani said his government would seek a “Marshall Plan” at a meeting of the “Friends of Pakistan” group in Tokyo on April 17. The gathering will bring together more than a dozen countries including the US and Saudi Arabia.

The US-sponsored Marshall Plan helped the economies of European countries recover after World War Two.