May 25, 2020
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Paks Americana, Phase II

Islamabad has it good both ways: token admonition, a bonanza of aid

Paks Americana, Phase II
Paks Americana, Phase II
Last week witnessed three significant developments which underline the preferential treatment the United States is doling out to Pakistan's 'embedded' leadership. These are, the waiver of democracy sanctions, seeking of additional funds from the US Congress for Pakistan, and token sanctions on Pakistan for nuclear proliferation vis-a-vis North Korea.

Pakistan's Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) imported nuclear missiles from North Korea and in return supplied Pyongyang with enriched uranium for its n-weapons programme. Instead of punishing Pakistan, Washington has imposed mild sanctions on it under an executive order (12938), which merely names a North Korean entity as transferring entity. The order doesn't spell out clearly that KRL was responsible for exporting nuclear material. Ironically, executive order 12938 can only be invoked against nations that supply nuclear material or missile development technology to others.

Had the US explicitly accused KRL of exporting nuclear material, such a linkage would have led to imposition of sanctions under the more stringent Symington or Glen acts. This would have rendered it difficult for Washington to continue aiding Pakistan, financially and militarily.

Further, on April 1, two days after the token sanctions imposed on Pakistan, deputy spokesman of the state department Phil Reeker issued a clarification that sought to extricate Pakistan from the nuclear muddle. Reeker said, "These sanctions were for a specific missile-related transfer. Changgwang Sinyong Corporation is a North Korean missile marketing entity and has been sanctioned repeatedly in the past for its missile-related exporting behaviour. Changgwang Sinyong Corporation transferred missile-related technology to KRL. The United States made a determination to impose penalties on both Changgwang Sinyong Corporation and KRL as a result of this specific missile-related transfer. These sanctions do not pertain to any other activity, including nuclear-related ones. We informed the Congress on March 12 that the Administration had carefully reviewed the facts relating to the possible transfer of nuclear technology from Pakistan to North Korea, and decided that the facts do not warrant the imposition of sanctions under applicable US laws." Reeker's clarification is an unwarranted clean chit to Pakistan.

But this wasn't all. Bush also sought additional funds for Pakistan. For the US fiscal year 2003 (which runs from October 1, 2002, to September 30, 2003), Congress had earlier this year passed the Appropriations Act allocating $305 million for Pakistan, including $50 million as foreign military financing. This was later signed into law by the US president.

On March 25, Bush sought additional supplementary funds, mostly for expenses arising from military operations in Iraq as well as the war against terrorism. The package presented to Congress includes:

  • an additional funding of $175 million for foreign military financing in Pakistan;

  • $25 million for international narcotic control and law enforcement in Pakistan;

  • an unspecified amount for use of bases in Pakistan and logistic support. At conservative estimates, it could vary between $300 and $500 million.

The question to ask is: why didn't the US include the additional demand at the time initial funding was sought?
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