The US will cut aid to Pakistan for allegedly failing to tackle terrorism. Sputnik spoke to Imtiaz Gul, the author of the “Unholy Nexus” on Pakistan-Afghanistan relations and Amalendu Misra, author of “Politics of Civil Wars”, “Afghanistan: The Labyrinth of Violence” about the issue.
Sputnik: How much impact will Trump’s decision to withdraw security aid have on Pakistan?
Imtiaz Gul: Domestically there won’t be any impact. After all, a few hundred million dollars for a nation of 210 million doesn’t matter much. Most of the assistance that was coming through was a reimbursement that the US was making to Pakistan in return for the deployment of forces in the border regions.
It would not have a big impact. Also given the fact that the US still owes Pakistan roughly 9 billion dollars regarding coalition support funds, which basically is filed by the US government when it makes a request for the deployment of troops.
Sputnik: Will Pakistan seek to forge a stronger alliance with China, following Trump’s decision?
Imtiaz Gul: I think Pakistan is already aligned with China, it is turning into an unprecedented partnership under the Pakistan-China economic corridor, which is a flagship project of China’s one belt one road. Under this, Pakistan has already received several billion dollars; it has overcome largely the electricity shortages, the power crisis, a number of infrastructure projects are under construction and a huge new seaport down in the south-west is being developed, with the support of Chinese assistance.
Compared to the few hundred million dollars that the US is withholding or compared to the 14 billion dollars that Pakistan has received via the coalition support since 2002, we here are talking of huge infrastructure investments, which have not only ended the power crisis but added to infrastructure, as well as generating a lot of employment.
Sputnik: Will Trump’s foreign policy have a significant impact on Pakistan both domestically and internationally?
Amalendu Misra: Well, the fact is that Pakistan is a military state and a large part of the country’s budget goes to the military. It is going to pinch and it’s going to pinch pretty bad and if you realize that in the last 15 years, the US has given millions of dollars and that has kind of kept the military afloat and that money is missing now. It’s going to have an undermining trickledown effect to the Pakistani domestic and international situation if the money is missing.
The fact is we have been seeing other American presidents talk but not take any action. For the first time, we have a president who makes a decision and there is no wavering.