Marshall or Martial aid for Pakistan?
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 03 Oct , 2009

Previous aid packages , worth over a total of $15.4 billion between 2002 and 2009, for Pakistan have been liberally diverted to military aid against India with full knowledge of donors “¦

The problem is indeed gigantic and requires a bold scheme like the post-war American Marshall Plan for the battered and beaten state of Germany. Almost forgotten now a days, the package for Germany had one binding condition that Germany would not engage in any re-armament and not raise a defence force even remotely capable of attacking any other state.

Pakistan’s history over half a century and more has been characteristically different. American aid was avowedly militaristic throughout the SEATO, CENTO and Cold War era with the supply of all kind of war materials, including Patton Tanks and F-16 bombers, to ward of the Soviet threat. That aid became nakedly weaponised in the 1980s campaign to oust the Russian forces from Afghanistan during the rule of General Zia-ul-Haq and his jihadi forces recruited both from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Needless to remind the donors of equipment and cash, the tanks and bombers were pressed into wars and skirmishes with India, for which they were not intended, at least officially. The donors have traditionally turned a blind eye to the actions of their faithful ally over the years.

This time, however, there are loud noises being made by the 20-strong group of donor nations including Britain, Japan and China, over conditions attached to the new $5 billion Marshall Aid package so that only a specific portion would be used for military purposes and that too specifically for fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan while the rest of the aid would be seen, indeed monitored, to be used for rebuilding of educational and economic infrastructure and rehabilitation of the people displaced by terrorism.

How much of that package, when finalised and delivered, will be used as Martial Aid against India is anybody’s guess. Past history points to a lot of cautionary, indeed questionable, record. A just released US Congressional report reveals how much armament Pakistan bought between 2005 and 2008.

A whopping $4.5 billion worth of arms including F-16 fighters and over hundred 155 MM artillery guns, were sought from the USA. The orders included thirty-six latest 50/52 F-16C jets and air-to-air missiles and bombs worth $ 640 million. The arms deal also provided for mid-life modification of its earlier F-16 A/B fighters. Islamabad also sought 115 M109A5 155 MM self- propelled howitzers worth $52 million, the guns it did not have during the Kargil conflict in 1999, making Pakistan the biggest buyer of US arms worth over $3.5 billion in 2006. The controversy raging about General Musharraf’s recent interview to a Pakistani TV channel that Pakistan deployed whatever armament it had where ever it was needed, clearly implying its use against India which it has always regarded as target number one. Musharraf’s denial of any specific reference to India in the TV interview cuts no ice. Such denials are the normal fare of all politicial players but they only confirm what is cleverly implied but not literally spelt out.

Previous aid packages , worth over a total of $15.4 billion between 2002 and 2009, for Pakistan have been liberally diverted to military aid against India with full knowledge of donors and there is no reason to believe that a very substantial part of the latest “Marshall Aid” plus a proposed $7.5 billion under Senators Richard Lugar- John Kerry plan, cleared by the Senate, will not be used as “Martial Aid” against India.

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