The US Congress has passed the National Defense Authorisation Act-2019 (NDAA-19) that capped its security-related aid to Pakistan to US$ 150 million, he is considerably below the historic level which had always been between USD one billion to USD 750 million per annum. This year’s defense legislation, however, removes sure conditions – like action against Haqqani network or Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) — as was the case in the past couple of years for disbursement of aid to Pakistan.
The Senate passed the conference report on NDAA-19 by an overwhelming majority of 87 to 10 votes on 01st August 2018. The House of Representatives had passed the conference report last week. It currently heads to the White House for Presidential assent. “The legislation reduces the entire quantity of funds provided for compensation to Pakistan to USD 150 million only. This can be the highest reduction from the USD 700 million that was authorized through Coalition Support Fund (CSF) last year,” Mr. Anish Goel said. He was a part of Barack Obama’s White House National Security Council.
However, in doing this, the legislation removed the certification necessary for Pakistan stating it has taken action against the Haqqani network. It also removed the authority to reimburse Pakistan for counter-terrorism, he said. “Hence, the Pentagon does not have any tool to pressurize Pakistan to undertake counter-terrorism activities or action against the Haqqani Network,” Goel, said. Joshua White, who was also in Obama’s White House National Security Council team and worked on Pakistan, said, “This year’s defense legislation considerably reduces the quantity of security aid Pakistan will get in theory outside the traditional Foreign Military funding.
“It makes Pakistan ineligible for Coalition Support Funds (CSF), however, adds Pakistan amongst those states which will receive related aid designed to assist partner nations to bolster border security,” White told us in a press release and ascertained, “This legislation could be a mixed blessing for Pakistan.” “On one hand, these new border security funds are going to be capped at USD 150 million per annum, considerably below historical levels of CSF. On the opposite hand, the legislation reporting requirements and certifications that have, in the past made it tough for Pakistan to receive such funds,” he said. The former White House official noted that it’s vital to contemplate this legislation in the current political context.
“The Trump administration has effectively frozen security help to Pakistan, and this new legislation can alter nothing in the short term,” he said. “It does, however, mean that if the administration decides to resume some style of modest security help in the near future, it’ll be authorized by the Congress and not have to provide detailed reports and make tough certifications relating to Pakistan’s support vis-a-vis the Haqqani network and similar threats to the US,” White mentioned.
“In the long run, that would be a win for Pakistan,” he said, while noting that in theory, the new funding authority doesn’t allow counter-terrorism help, however, the aid will be only for border security. “In practice, these terms are therefore malleable that I don’t expect that the Pentagon would find itself restricted on the type of support it might offer,” White aforementioned.
06 Aug 2018/Monday Written by Mohd Tahir Shafi