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A peril here, a peril there
US has to carefully monitor direction of defence spending in Pakistan

It is said about Pakistan, that while most states have an army, this army has a state! The influence of army that inspires this extreme comment, which is reflected in the normally hefty defence budget allocation, which was increased by 17% for 2010-11 to Rs.442.2 billion ($5.17 billion), more than thrice as fast as the country’s GDP growth. This would be around 7.5% of their GDP in 2010, as per IMF estimates at constant prices. Last year’s allocation was Rs.343 billion, which mounted to Rs.403 billion, largely due to increased military operations on border areas.

Pakistan received $656 million from US for counter insurgency operations, but its military and intelligence services are under scrutiny for tacit support to jehadi terrorist organizations. Heritage Institution’s Lisa Curtis and Carnegie Endowment’s Ashley Tellis opined that US “must develop policies that approach the jehadi groups with the same urgency as the US deals with the threat from al-Qaida.’’

Yet, the US & IMF indirectly strengthen these jehadis. Terrorists in PoK received monthly salary hikes from the Pakistani establishment to the range of Rs.10,000 per month up from around Rs.8,000 recently, as per intelligence reports. The Taliban, which pays its militants Rs.2 lakh for every NATO soldier killed, had its roots in Pakistan. The father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapon programme Dr. A. Q. Khan was quite an unworthy parent; accused of leaking nuclear materials to North Korea and Iran.

Paraphrase commentator Jim Hoagland puts it thus, “Oppose or ignore us at our — and your — peril is the unofficial national motto of Islamabad”. As an ill-governed and terror ridden nuclear power, Pakistan is too valuable to be left alone, else it could be the first macabre instance of terrorists having a state! But US must realise that blindly supporting Pakistan is no less perilous in the long run.

By:- Sayan Ghosh

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