Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

U.S. aid to Pakistan: the law of unintended consequences


U.S. plans to triple aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion a year appear to have run rather quickly afoul of the law of unintended consequences – by threatening to create tensions between the government and the army.

The Kerry-Lugar aid bill is meant to bolster Pakistan’s civilian democracy and help the country fight Islamist militants.  But it also stipulates that U.S. military aid will cease if Pakistan does not help fight the militants; seeks Pakistani cooperation on nuclear non-proliferation and provides for an assessment of how effective the civilian government’s control is over the military.

The aid conditions have already been criticised by Pakistan’s opposition parties, and in an unusually public statement, the Pakistan Army added its note of disapproval about what is being seen as unwarranted interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

During a meeting of his top commanders, Pakistan Army chief General Pervez Ashfaq Kayani noted that ”Pakistan is a sovereign state and has all the rights to analyse and respond to the threat in accordance with her own national interests”, according to the statement.