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Budget without CSF

Budget without CSF

According to newspaper reports, the government has decided to exclude the receipts of the US Coalition Support Fund from the federal budget for 2018-19, clearly pointing a fact that there is little chance of improvement in relations between Pakistan and the United States in the near future. The Coalition Support Fund remained integral part of the budget estimates during the last 16 years, but the bilateral relations gradually deteriorated over the years due to unending war in Afghanistan. However, a tweet of US President Donald Trump proved the last nail in the coffin of the relations when he began his new year by launching an anti-Pakistan tirade. He accused Pakistan of providing nothing but ‘lies and deceit’ and that Washington had foolishly given Pakistan billions of dollars in aid over the last 15 years. He also accused Pakistan of giving ‘safe haven to the terrorists’ fighting US forces in Afghanistan. According to the statistics compiled by US authorities, the total aid for reimbursements to Pakistan was $33.4 billion, including $14.573 billion which were sanctioned under the CSF. By excluding the $14.5 billion under the cost of logistics and aerial support, the civilian and security aid granted to Pakistan from 2002 to 2016 was $18.8 billion,.

Against the grant of $33 billion, Pakistan incurred 50,000 citizens and over $100 billion monetary losses during the so-called war on terror. However, Pakistan is at the same situation as it was in 2002 when it decided to side with the United States. As a partner of the regional war, which had international repercussions, Pakistan not only incurred financial but economic losses which will take years to recover. The economy suffered heavily during the years and in return, the country bagged nothing but diatribes, accusations and insults. This happened purely due to ill-planned policies of the successive governments in the country. The United States still uses Pakistani airspace, airports, and highways for logistic supplies to Afghanistan. Instead of extending a note of thanks, it is blaming Pakistan for its failures on the war fronts. It is the time the Pakistani policymakers should call spade a spade and tell the new US administration it means business. There is no need to take funds, but it is the right of Islamabad to charge the United States for using its land and air routes. The economy of Pakistan remained in dire strain and stronger trade relations are the answer to remove trust deficit between the two countries.