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US to cut aid to Pakistan

It probably has nothing to do with the recent diplomatic row between the two countries, but the US has made a cut in the annual aid it gives Pakistan. Yashwant Raj reports.

world Updated: Feb 16, 2011 01:43 IST
Yashwant Raj

It probably has nothing to do with the recent diplomatic row between the two countries, but the US has made a cut in the annual aid it gives Pakistan. Islamabad is likely to react poorly as it tends to see the US dole as its right.

The cut — described as ‘small’ by a senior US official — came on Monday in budget proposals sent to the congress by US President Barack Obama in an atmosphere thick with calls for deficit reduction. Obama’s $ 3.7 trillion budget hopes to bring deficit down to $ 1.1 trillion.

US-Pakistan relations have hit a rough patch lately over the arrest of a US national in Lahore for allegedly killing two men.

Pakistan gets two kinds of aid from the US. The first is what the state department calls the “enduring part” part of the budget. It adds up to $1.9 billion, bulk of which is economic assistance, but also includes the cost running a huge diplomatic mission there.

The second is under a category called the overseas contingency operation, and it adds uip to $1.2 billion — this is a clear payment for Pakistan’s war against terrorism.

“$ 1.1 billion (of that) is for the the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund to… train the Pak military and the frontier core along the border ... to conduct the fight along with border with Afghanistan,” said the official.