How to fix flood-hit Pakistan

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Neil, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Messages:
    2,610
    Likes Received:
    1,946
    Location:
    India
    Guest columnist Ahmed Rashid argues that Pakistan's unpopular civilian government should allow foreign technocrats to sort out the country's mess - or its troubles may only get even worse.

    Pakistan is under siege - from flood waters that have inundated 23% of cultivable land and extremist Taliban who have killed over 120 people in the past week.

    Meanwhile, there is intense political infighting, calls for martial law and an economic downturn that could last for years.

    Some Pakistanis are also asking if the floods may just provide a wake-up call: to push the ruling elite to establish good governance, undertake real redevelopment and poverty alleviation, and ultimately strengthen democracy sufficiently to defeat Islamic extremism.

    However, any such hope is countered by the real crux of the current crisis. There has been a complete collapse of trust and confidence in the government and the civil-military ruling elite by the people.

    Aid fade
    It would seem that years of mismanagement, corruption, bad governance and army rule, punctuated by weak elected governments, have finally taken their toll.

    At every turn donor countries, charitable foundations, wealthy individuals or school children inside the country or abroad are refusing to give money to the Pakistani state to alleviate the suffering of nearly 20 million people affected by the floods.

    At the international level, donor countries are refusing to commit money to the government, and are channelling their aid to Western and Pakistani non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

    Less than 20% of the aid pledged so far will go through the government, according to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

    Meanwhile, public fund raising by charities in the US and Europe is reported to be the lowest for any catastrophic act of nature in recent memory.

    The UN appeal for $459m remains far from fulfilled - more than five weeks after the floods began.

    The UN said on 2 September that international fund raising had ''almost stalled'' in the previous two weeks, when only $17m dribbled in to UN coffers.

    It seems the world has also given up on Pakistan, or at least that its government cannot be trusted by anyone.

    Yet, already a fight has broken out between the federal government and the four provinces as to who gets to spend the money.

    Meanwhile, some opportunist political leaders are calling for martial law or a French revolution.

    Since the floods began, there has been no genuine effort by President Asif Ali Zardari or PM Gilani to put together a truly transparent body that would receive and spend the money to the satisfaction of international donors and Pakistanis.

    The central government, the provincial governments, the army and even the National Assembly have bizarrely set up separate flood relief funds. And few Pakistanis are contributing because nobody trusts any of them.

    However, major help is on the way with international financial institutions putting together between $2bn and $3bn for rehabilitation and rebuilding the destroyed infrastructure.

    Kleptomaniacs
    If such funding is truly to arrive than it is time that Pakistan's kleptomaniac rulers restore some public trust.

    The politicians need to agree to set up a Trust Fund, much like that which operates in Afghanistan to fund the government, army and police.

    Pakistan's Reconstruction Trust Fund could be run by a board that included the World Bank, other international lending agencies and independent and prominent Pakistani economists and social welfare figures with no ties to the government.

    Pakistanis would still take all the major decisions, but those who did so would not be the cronies of the president, the PM or the opposition leaders.

    Pakistan's finance bureaucracy and army would have seats at the table, but certainly no veto powers over how the money is spent.

    Their job would be impartial implementation of recovery overseen by the Trust Fund.

    Such a fund would not just monitor the cash, but help the government put together a non-political, neutral reconstruction effort.

    It would also help plan long-term economic reforms, such as widening the tax base and insisting that landlords pay income tax.

    The government has not tapped the large numbers of extremely competent Pakistani technocrats, NGO workers and economists.

    Secession lesson
    No doubt the army and politicians would reject such an idea, saying that this would spell the end of sovereignty of a nuclear power and be intolerable for an independent nation.

    But the elite is already losing its sovereignty every day if it cannot put the country back together again and regain the trust of the people.

    The sovereignty the government has lost in the floods is the biggest loss in the country's history bar one, when the ruling elite lost East Pakistan - now Bangladesh - in 1971.

    That loss was also triggered by a national calamity when there was a typhoon in the eastern part of the country as it was then, and no relief response came from the West Pakistani elite.

    The political infighting and threats will only get worse as the floods recede and haphazard reconstruction starts.

    Reconstruction left to the government will be dominated by local interests of politicians and feudal lords rather than a common, rational plan.

    Yet with 5,000 miles of road and rail and 1,000 bridges washed away, 7,000 schools and 400 health clinics destroyed, vast areas of the north still cut off, one fifth of agricultural land under water and the looming threat of epidemics spreading though the flood victims, a coherent reconstruction plan is desperately needed.

    That needs greater trust between the government, the army and the people which is just not there.

    BBC News - How to fix flood-hit Pakistan
     
  2.  
  3. Solid Beast

    Solid Beast New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    405
    Likes Received:
    63
    With this type of destruction, it will be easy to construct public opinion in a way for certain provinces to cede away. After all the vampires in Islamabad will be hard pressed to use the only ace card up their sleeve (nukes). The iron is hot, who will strike?
     
  4. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Messages:
    2,610
    Likes Received:
    1,946
    Location:
    India

    whoever strikes the pain will be bared by the pakistani people....thats for sure...!!
     
  5. Solid Beast

    Solid Beast New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    405
    Likes Received:
    63
    You are right though there are ways to avoid it. I mean right now the pains of the Pakistani people this past decade have been immense, on a scale comparable with Afghans and Iraqis...we have suffered a lot at the hands of our own. Many of us right now view India in a much better perspective than any authority figure in Pakistan.

    Just need the provincial assemblies to cut off ties with the central government and not allow themselves to be held hostage by martial law or calls to unify the country around a central authority that has neglected its people since 1947 and played a huge joke on them. If the military decides to suppress legitimate grievances and calls for autonomy, there should be a UN mandated intervention. I think this is the end game, in a very general manner. It is a shame though that ISAF was so useless in Afghanistan, that the UN was degraded and has become a puppet figure thanks to we know who, lacking any teeth in its jurisprudence. Otherwise the vampires in Islamabad would be sweating bullets as they very well know the country can be lost from their grip overnight.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
  6. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Messages:
    2,610
    Likes Received:
    1,946
    Location:
    India
    the thing that i dont understand is that when pakistan cant even handle the states/provinces it has right now how will it handle kashmir...and then they say we are fighting for kashmir....
     
  7. Solid Beast

    Solid Beast New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    405
    Likes Received:
    63
    Because the Kashmir issue is a military one from the Pakistani perspective. The military is somewhat successful in their machinations. The current situation with respects to Pakistan's domestic problems though, the military can not even begin to lift such a burden. They have failed in their fight against domestic terrorism. The civilian leaders have failed in governance. Kashmir is an easy issue, it is similar to what we did in Afghanistan.
     
  8. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Messages:
    2,610
    Likes Received:
    1,946
    Location:
    India
    you are right....but i dont think pakistani military failed against domestic terrorism ...because they never fought against them.....
    civilian leaders have always failed pakistani aspiration and thats why military comes into picture.....
     
  9. Solid Beast

    Solid Beast New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    405
    Likes Received:
    63
    Absolutely true, the military has for all these years set up non state groups who just branched off into new groups (TTP for example). Indications are they still use them for strategic depth in neighbouring countries and even at home. You point out that military comes in when the civvies fail time after time. One can only expect history to repeat itself, however in this situation the military is trying its best to wait it out. Because right now they have a scape goat. Anytime they have taken power, they did so under very favourable conditions. With most of the country burning or drowning because of their own doings, the Pakistan military has faded into the background, it's only useful role in being disaster relief. They know the game is up, they can not manage the country's situation.
     
  10. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Rebuilding Pakistan the right way


    The severe aftermath of the flooding in Pakistan has called attention to the need for not only humanitarian aid to help the tens of millions of Pakistanis affected by the flooding, but also for long-term sustainable development assistance to help Pakistan rebuild its critical infrastructure. The United States has a long history of giving development aid to Pakistan starting in the 1950s, but the question lies in whether these funds are actually used effectively for development projects.

    While U.S. economic aid to Pakistan has ebbed and flowed throughout the decades, its value was more significant in the 1960s when money was actually being transferred to aid Pakistan's development projects. Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has viewed committing aid to Pakistan as part of its broader national security strategy and interests in the South Asia region. Just last year, President Barack Obama signed the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, which committed $7.5 billion of development aid to Pakistan over five years. Senator John Kerry, a co-sponsor of the bill, said that this development aid is meant to build a relationship between the U.S. and the Pakistani people and "show that what we want is a relationship that meets their interests and needs." In July, at the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue in Islamabad, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted that there is a long-held perception by Pakistanis that the U.S. commitment to their country centers only on security; and that "this misperception ... tells us we have not done a good enough job of connecting our partnership with concrete improvements in the lives of Pakistanis." She also stressed that the U.S. commitment reaches beyond security to further economic, political and educational growth.

    But will the new $7.5 billion U.S. aid package reverse the negative Pakistani perceptions of United States assistance and result in long-term sustainable development for Pakistan and its people?

    Most recent data shows that U.S. programmable aid to Pakistan amounted to $204 million in 2008, which translates to $1.10 per Pakistani. In fact, United States development assistance to Pakistan has been minimal in comparison with its aid commitments to Pakistan in the late 1960s and early 1970s -- when the relations between the two countries were warm. At that time, U.S. development assistance helped build roads, power stations and a vibrant agricultural economy. Since then, Pakistan has seen little cash for development projects from the United States. In some cases, pledges were never translated into actual projects or were left unimplemented and later simply cancelled or forgotten. In other instances, the money never went to Pakistan or Pakistanis, but went straight to U.S. contractors to execute programs designed by the United States.

    Programmable aid from the United States to Pakistan -- gross aid disbursements excluding technical cooperation (where no money flows to Pakistan), food and humanitarian assistance (not designed for long-term development purposes), debt relief (write-offs on bad commercial loans that would not have been repaid anyway), and interest and principal repayments on past aid -- was negative for almost 25 years between 1975 and 2000. This means that more money was being paid from the Pakistan budget to the United States Treasury than vice-versa.

    Can the aid system break old habits and seriously allocate funds for development projects? In order to make aid more effective and to abide by the international guiding principles of aid effectiveness, development assistance must be reliable, predictable and substantial. The whopping $7.5 billion package -- larger than most development aid packages -- will only be effective in lifting Pakistan out of poverty if these pledges translate into real resource flows and are measured, prioritized and monitored once entering the country. Unlike before, the volatility of U.S. financial disbursements must be reduced and funding should be allocated to country programmable aid rather than U.S. contractors or administrative budgets. A development program should be properly designed, with monitored results, and maintained with sound macroeconomic management complemented by budgetary support. Aid can make a difference, particularly with rural development programs, including access to credit, rural roads and markets.

    Coupled with the destruction from natural disasters -- the 2005 earthquake and now the devastating aftermath from this summer's floods -- Pakistan urgently needs assistance to not only get back on its feet but to ensure long-term economic growth, improved institutional governance and a sense of wellbeing.

    Homi Kharas is a Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings; Eileen Gallagher is a Communications Associate with the Global Economy and Development program.
     
  11. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Pakistan: The Worsening IDP Crisis


    Asia Briefing N°11116 Sep 2010
    OVERVIEW
    The monsoon floods in Pakistan have caused massive destruction and turned a displacement crisis in the insecure western borderlands into a national disaster of mammoth proportions. When the floods hit, almost all those displaced from Malakand had returned home and were struggling to rebuild lives in a region where much of the infrastructure had been destroyed in fighting; 1.4 million more displaced from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) were living in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province. The disaster would have proved challenging under any circumstance. The fragile civilian government, already tackling an insurgency, and its institutions, neglected during nine years of military rule, lack the capacity and the means to provide sufficient food, shelter, health and sanitation without international assistance. The Pakistan government and international actors should ensure those in the flood-devastated conflict zones are urgently granted the assistance they need to survive and to rebuild lives and livelihoods. If military objectives dictate rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, a population exhausted by conflict could become a soft target for militants, making stability in the northwest even more elusive.

    In July 2009, the Pakistani military initiated the return of an estimated 2.8 million people displaced by militancy and military operations in the Malakand region of KPK. Named Niwa- e-Seher (new dawn), this return process supposedly affirmed the military’s success against militant networks in Swat and other parts of the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA). The same principle is being replicated in FATA where some 1.4 million people have been displaced by militancy and military operations.

    The humanitarian crisis in FATA has received significantly less attention than displacement from KPK’s Mala kand region. Many have been unable to register or receive assistance due to the military’s tight control over access to humanitarian agencies in KPK’s Internally Displaced Person (IDP) hosting areas and continued security threats. In parts of FATA, most notably Bajaur agency, families have been forced to flee repeatedly because of a militant resurgence. Yet relying on the pace of returns as an indicator of success in anti-Taliban operations, the military has largely determined the humanitarian agenda, with scant objection from the international community. With the militants once again escalating their campaign of violence in the tribal belt, FATA’s IDPs must not be compelled to return home before the threats to their safety subside.

    Deprived of resources, fiscal and human, during more than nine years of military rule, Pakistan’s civilian administrative and humanitarian apparatus is now severely tested by the worst flooding in the country’s history. One fifth of the country and more than 20 million people have been affected. Some of the worst damage is in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the largest numbers of lives have been lost and where homes, schools, hospitals, agriculture, factories and the communication infrastructure are devastated, and crops and livestock lost. The state’s response has been slow as a result of multiple factors – ill-equipped and under-resourced state relief organs, the absence of civil-military coordination and ineffective civilian control over military-led efforts.

    This inadequate response has angered and alienated hundreds of thousands of returnees, making them vulnerable to jihadi propaganda and recruitment. International assistance has begun to pour in but on a scale that is still far too modest to meet the enormous needs of urgent relief. In the months ahead, civilian-led mechanisms, which include the involvement of affected communities, credible secular NGOs, professional organisations and the provincial and national parliaments, will be crucial if the massive challenges of rehabilitation and reconstruction are to be effectively tackled.

    Prior to the floods, the humanitarian community had prepared the draft of a major policy document, the Post-Conflict Needs Assessment (PCNA), to identify development needs, propose political reforms in Malakand and FATA, and devise a strategy for their implementation. As this document is being rewritten to reflect the challenges posed by the floods, any post-conflict plan must reaffirm civilian supremacy and recommend PATA and FATA’s integration into the constitutional, political and legal mainstream. The impact of the floods on Malakand’s returnees or on FATA’s IDPs is not yet clear, but as relief again becomes a top priority, all assistance, local and international, must be delinked from the military’s institutional interests and directives, even granting the importance of the military’s logistics capabilities during rescue and emergency relief operations. The civilian government and donors should also seize this opportunity to ensure that rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts meet the needs of their intended beneficiaries, and bolster civilian institutional capacity and authority at the same time.

    The Pakistan government should:

    Devise a rehabilitation and reconstruction policy in FATA and KPK based on broad consultation with representatives of conflict and flood-affected communities, credible local NGOs and professional organisations, and the national and provincial parliaments.
    Develop a central role for the national and provincial parliaments in maintaining oversight over government and donor expenditure, through their public accounts committees, particularly for large-scale infrastructure projects in FATA and KPK, and award contracts for such projects through competitive and transparent bidding.
    Revive assistance to FATA’s IDPs, suspended in response to the floods, and demonstrate commitment to the principle of voluntary returns by continuing assistance to those who choose not to return.
    Ensure that registration and assistance for FATA’s IDPs and flood-affected communities is civilian-led and based on vulnerability rather than location; and permanently remove all restrictions, including No Objection Certificates, for humanitarian agencies, as well as all requirements for such agencies to share confidential data on beneficiaries with the military.
    Implement earlier pledges to incorporate FATA into the constitutional, political and legal mainstream, with a robust and accountable criminal justice sector.
    The international community should:

    Help build civilian disaster management capacity at the national, provincial and district levels – including registration of flood-affected communities, the provision of assistance and the execution of large-scale reconstruction – and oppose a military role beyond rescue and immediate relief.
    Ensure that relief and rehabilitation is non-discrim i natory and based on independent assessments of local needs, with representative community-level committees exercising oversight over the disbursement of assistance, with beneficiaries identified according to civilian rather than military-determined criteria.
    Address urgent short-term needs of flood-affected communities in KPK and FATA, including shelter, health and education; revive the agricultural sector; and provide material assistance as well as cash transfers.
    Develop effective oversight and accountability mechanisms over donor funding that include affected communities and national civil society organisations and elected representatives.
     
  12. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    US envoy warns Pakistan of flood funding shortfall

    By SEBASTIAN ABBOTT (AP) – 25 minutes ago
    KARACHI, Pakistan — The world will only be able to fund around 25 percent of the tens of billions of dollars needed to rebuild Pakistan after the floods, and its government will have to make up the shortfall, the U.S. envoy to the country warned Thursday.
    Richard Holbrooke said America would not condition its assistance to the country, but warned that the U.S. Congress might not be generous if it felt that Pakistan was not taxing its own citizens enough.
    Pakistan's rich have traditionally not paid much tax on their income or their property — either because they evade them or are exempt — and the country's collection rates are among the lowest in the world. Critics have pointed to this shortage of revenue in recent weeks as Islamabad leaders has sought international aid. The country's economy is surviving on international assistance, and the floods are expected to badly slow economic growth further.
    "I don't want to withhold money they need, but I think we have to be clear that the Congress is going to be reluctant to give money if the money is filling in a gap because people are not paying taxes," Holbrooke told business leaders in Karachi.
    Monsoon rains triggered massive floods six weeks ago that spread across the country and are still continuing in parts of the south. Some 8 million people have been made homeless in what Pakistani and U.N. officials have said is one of the largest humanitarian disasters in living memory.
    The United Nations said last week that it had received $310 million toward its initial emergency appeal, although private and bilateral donations bring the global total committed for Pakistan flood aid to roughly US$1.1 billion. On Friday, donor nations are meeting in New York to appeal for more.
    America has given more than $260 million for flood relief and has provided 18 military helicopters to evacuate people and deliver food and supplies.
    "Nobody has an accurate estimate of the reconstruction costs because we still don't know what the damage has been, but it's going to be in the tens of billions of dollars," Holbrooke said.
    "The international community will never be able to put together that level of support because of all the other needs of the world in these areas, so your government is going to have do something about revenue because there is a clear shortfall," he said.
    The scale of the floods has raised fears for Pakistan's stability, a major concern for Western powers as they seek to stabilize neighboring Afghanistan and neutralize the threat from al-Qaida and other Islamist militants hiding in Pakistan's northwest.
    There has so far been few signs of sustained social unrest or political upheaval as a result of the disaster.
    Local volunteers, Islamic groups, the Pakistan army and the U.N. have helped millions of victims, but conditions are grim for most survivors, most of whom were very poor even before the disaster.
     
  13. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Pakistan must raise billions after floods: Holbrooke


    KARACHI: Pakistan's allies will only do so much to rebuild the country after devastating floods so the government must raise tens of billions of dollars for reconstruction itself, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke said on Thursday.

    The floods, triggered by heavy monsoon rain in late July, killed more than 1,750 people, forced at least 10 million people from their homes and caused up to $43 billion in damage.

    “The international community is not going to be able to raise tens of billions of dollars,” Holbrooke told a meeting of newspaper editors in Karachi.

    “You have to figure out a way to raise the money,” he said.

    A massive cascade of waters swept through the country, washing away homes, roads, bridges, crops and livestock, sending the vital US ally in the campaign against militancy reeling in one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history.

    Pakistan's economy was already fragile and the cost of rehabilitation will likely push the 2010/11 fiscal deficit to between six and seven per cent of gross domestic product (GPD) against an original target of four per cent.

    The floods are “going to put your government to the test”, Holbrooke said.

    Reconstruction worry

    Pakistan's tax to GDP ratio is about 10 per cent, one of the lowest in the world, and while the government has called for greater revenue collection, it has done little to broaden a very narrow tax base.

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday approved as expected $451 million in emergency funding to help the country rebuild. That amount is separate from an $11 billion IMF-backed economic programme agreed in 2008.

    The IMF programme includes energy sector reforms and measures to boost revenue.

    If Pakistan does not increase its tax revenue and eliminate energy subsidies to cut expenditure, future IMF funds could be in danger.

    For now, the focus is on getting help to flood victims, 10 million of whom are in urgent need of food and shelter. Aid agencies warn that water-borne diseases and hunger could kill many more.

    “I've never seen anything on the scale of this,” Holbrooke, who also visited flood-hit areas, said at a meeting with the American Business Council, including representatives of major US companies such as IBM and Procter & Gamble.

    “This is what we need to convey to the international community. It's the reconstruction stage that I'm most worried about.”

    The United Nations says it has received $307 million, or about 67 per cent, of $460 million it appealed for in emergency aid last month, and plans to a launch a new appeal this week in New York.

    The United States has taken the lead in providing emergency aid, contributing $261 million for relief and security.

    The United States wants to make sure the floods do not create political turmoil in Pakistan, which faces a Taliban insurgency at home and is under US pressure to tackle militants who cross the border to attack US-led Nato troops in Afghanistan.
     
  14. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Is There Any Way to Fix Pakistan?

    From washed-out roads and bridges to the frayed state of Islamabad politics, Pakistan is a country in sorry shape. An FP special report on how things could go from bad to better.

    High-level talks between Pakistan and the United States this week in Washington have put the spotlight on Islamabad's frayed diplomatic ties with the West. Pakistani leaders have had to absorb accusations that they are giving safe harbor to the Taliban and terrorists including Osama bin Laden and hampering the NATO mission in Afghanistan. They also face pressure from a Pakistani public hostile to the United States and angered by increased drone strikes.

    But Pakistan is wracked by much more fundamental problems than the intricacies of managing international alliances: After this summer's floods, Pakistan teetered on the brink of failed state status. The waters have largely receded, but they've left in their wake a landscape of despair. The need for immediate disaster relief has given way to the questions of how to return millions of displaced Pakistanis to their homes, when to begin rebuilding the country's destroyed infrastructure, and how to provide basic provisions like clean drinking water to the indigent.

    The United States has signaled its willingness to help, but Pakistan will largely have to travel the road to recovery on its own. Here are 5 ideas on how it might best make the journey.


    DON'T UNDERESTIMATE THE GENERAL
    By Imtiaz Gul
    This week's high-level talks between the United States and Pakistan will formally be led on the Pakistani end by the country's foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi. But the success of the dialogue will hinge less on whether the two countries' civilian leaders can see eye to eye, and more on whether their military leaders can. As such, most attention will be focused on another Pakistani official: Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the chief of Pakistan's army.

    It is hardly a secret, of course, that Pakistan watchers in and out of the U.S. government suspect that the country's army and intelligence apparatus is not exactly on the level with its Western ally. "The bitter truth is that the current state of affairs -- in which Washington indefinitely subsidizes Islamabad's sustenance of U.S. enemies -- poses far greater dangers to the United States," Ashley Tellis, a South Asia expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote this month in Foreign Policy. Meanwhile, things in Afghanistan have already gone from bad to worse, and U.S. President Barack Obama, who still believes he can gradually extricate his troops from Afghanistan, is reportedly offering Pakistan a multi-year military cooperation pact and $2 billion dollars for reinforcing the Pakistani army -- not a bad investment, if it works.

    If the United States does manage to negotiate a gradual drawdown in troops from Afghanistan after July next year, it will be in part because of this deal. But it also hinges on Kayani and his relationship with the top echelons of the U.S. military. The 59-year-old four-star general has been talking with his American and NATO counterparts ever since he took over the top army job from Pervez Musharraf in November 2007, voicing the usual complaints: The United States and NATO need to trust Pakistan and can't be seen as ordering its ally around or interfering in its internal affairs. "Partnership [with the United States and NATO] doesn't mean you say and we act," he said in a recent briefing. "It is a bond based on consideration of mutual interests. We cannot compromise or undermine our interests by agreeing to your demands."

    Pakistan has to reconcile its long-term interests with the short-term objectives of the U.S.-led coalition forces. Afghanistan will remain fragile, Kayani believes, "until at least 70 percent of security is handled by the Afghans themselves." And India, as ever, remains Pakistan's top concern: The latter's military strategy, he has said, "has to be India-centric because Indian defense doctrine is Pakistan-centric."

    There is little doubt that Kayani, who served as the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence before becoming the army chief, means business. While he acknowledges the value of good relations with the U.S. military establishment, he also keeps reminding visitors of the importance of trust and respect in collaborative efforts such as counterterrorism operations along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. He is very clear about the limitations of his own army as well as the liberty available to the coalition forces across the Durand Line. His outspoken criticism of the U.S. Marines' "reckless actions" in South Waziristan two years ago -- in which a Marine raid on the village of Angoor Adda left 20 people dead -- as well as the recent 10-day closure of the strategically crucial supply route across the Pakistani border in retaliation for last month's U.S. attack on a Pakistani military post in the Kurram tribal region bordering Afghanistan reaffirmed that Kayani's army will not let such incidents go unchallenged.

    But much of the friction, the general insists, stems from what he sees as the West's -- and the United States' in particular -- inclination to view Pakistan through the prism of India. Until that ends, and outsiders empathize with the Pakistani position on India, the Pakistani army will not change its posture toward its eastern border -- and with it, the long-term strategic considerations that are affecting its cooperation on Afghanistan.

    Kayani will likely repeat this message in Washington. He might also try to warn the Obama administration not to slight Pakistan on the president's visit to India next month, as President Bill Clinton did in 2000 (Clinton spent five days in India and less than five hours in Islamabad). Skipping Pakistan will only inflame a Pakistani public already seething over the U.S. invasion of Iraq, America's military involvement in Afghanistan, and of course what is perceived as unquestioning U.S. support for Israel to the detriment of Palestinians. Such slights always feed into the narrative that al Qaeda and its Pakistani auxiliaries love to promote: American disdain for and discrimination against Muslims.

    The United States has undoubtedly been generous with its checkbook: It has set aside $400 million to help Pakistan cope with this summer's devastating floods and has promised another $1.5 billion dollars over the next five years. This money is important -- it moves things. But gestures are important, too -- and an Obama visit to Islamabad on his way back from Delhi, Pakistani civilian and military officials argue, would go a long way.

    Imtiaz Gul runs the Center for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad, and is the author of The Most Dangerous Place: Pakistan's Lawless Frontier.
     
  15. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    PAKISTAN'S RICH TAX EVADERS ARE THE LEAST OF OUR PROBLEMS
    By Shuja Nawaz
    Addressing the current crisis in Pakistan at the 26-country Friends of Democratic Pakistan gathering in Brussels last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn't mince words. "Pakistan itself must take immediate and substantial action to mobilize its own resources, and in particular to reform its economy," she said. "The most important step that Pakistan can take is to pass meaningful reforms that will expand its tax base. The government must require that the economically affluent and elite in Pakistan support the government and people of Pakistan."

    It was sound advice for a country whose problems were easily identifiable but enormous even before this summer, when an area the size of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard was devastated by catastrophic flooding. In Pakistan, almost nobody who is powerful enough to get out of doing so actually pays taxes; the leaders of government, opposition parties, and high society do their utmost to avoid them, even as they demand that the state provide them with extensive services. Under pressure from the International Monetary Fund, a new economic team has begun making efforts to change that system and move Pakistan to a higher tax-to-GDP ratio than its current 9 percent. But these efforts will likely run into a roadblock in parliament -- and as always, the key test will be whether the country can actually implement them at either the federal or the provincial level, where reform efforts in the country usually go to die.

    The lack of a tax base matters because it deprives the government of the resources it needs for development and to deal with its current disaster, which has affected some 20 million largely rural poor. Even three months after the flooding began, many of these people remain homeless, and most have lost their farm animals, equipment, and seed stock. The effects of the decimated harvests are beginning to be felt by the rest of the country; the threat of cotton, wheat, and rice shortages looms.

    Without cotton, Pakistan's textile industry -- accounting for 38 percent of manufacturing and 8.5 percent of its GDP, and already operating at half capacity before the flood due to energy shortages -- will find it hard to meet the overseas demand for its products. Pakistani officials in Washington this week will undoubtedly plead for greater access to the U.S. markets for their textiles, but the real question is what they can actually deliver. In addition to the flood damage, decades of autocratic rule -- under which government controls allowed favored industrialists to reap huge profits from privileged access to scarce financial inputs and tax credits -- have left many textile and other Pakistani industries uncompetitive with other developing-country exporters. The shock of the flood may shake these industries out of their complacency and offer the government a chance to make structural changes in its economic policies and incentive structures, but even so it will be an uphill climb.

    The flood has also exposed, once again, the weakness of Pakistan's civilian government. The Pakistani Army, as it often does, stepped into the breach to provide relief to the flood-affected millions; civil society groups and even private businesses set up relief operations of their own, too. But civilian governments at the provincial and federal level took their time responding, even though they had a comprehensive disaster response plan in their hands since the spring -- and even though their failure to do so has further weakened their tenuous hold on the country. The Pakistani Army's deployment of some 70,000 troops for relief work, for instance, has drained away resources needed for the fight against the Taliban insurgency in the country's western border region by slowing down the rotation of troops, and social-service organizations allied with Punjabi militant groups such as the Laskhar-e-Taiba are operating in some flood-affected areas. The extent of this assistance has been overstated; early reports from the flooded areas indicated that more aid was being disbursed by Pakistani and U.S. military efforts than by the so-called jihadi groups, as was the case during the 2005 earthquake. But if the official relief effort slows down or disappears, radical groups will surely begin to fill the void.

    The strategic dialogue in Washington this week between the United States and Pakistan will be a test for both sides of their willingness to move at full speed to meet this still-looming crisis. For the Pakistani government, that means stepping up to these responsibilities, daunting as they may be, and fully grasping the cost of inaction. For friends such as the United States, it means being ready to support the flailing country before things get even worse. It's time to move from talk to action.

    Shuja Nawaz is director of the South Asia Center at the Washington-based Atlantic Council. He is the author of the council's recent report "Pakistan in the Danger Zone: A Tenuous U.S.-Pakistan Relationship."
     
  16. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    DON'T JUST REBUILD INFRASTRUCTURE -- RETHINK IT

    By Ahmad Rafay Alam
    Before the floods this summer, grim rumors echoed in the corridors of the Ministry of Finance, the Planning Commission, and the State Bank of Pakistan: Pakistan was about to cross the precipice into economic free-fall. The floods, in many ways, only postponed the inevitable. The subsequent relief and renegotiation with multilateral lenders have given Pakistan nothing more than a chance to stop and catch its breath. The reality is, Pakistan's infrastructure was a mess before the floods.

    Meanwhile, the country faces two massive challenges -- coping with reconstruction and staving off a complete economic malfunction. Comprehensive reports on the flood damage are just surfacing, and large-scale infrastructure projects are finally being discussed at the highest levels of government. Now is the time to carefully chart a future course, because decisions now being made by political actors and their economic advisors on long-term flood-rehabilitation strategy will have repercussions on priorities assigned to budget allocations for decades to come. When it comes to literally rebuilding Pakistan, its villages and cities, these next steps are ever so crucial.

    But where does one begin? It's important that the full scale of Pakistan's infrastructure problems is taken into account, and that means looking at the country as a whole as well as in its many parts. There are 11 distinct and overlapping climatic zones in Pakistan, and the manner in which each zone was affected by the flooding, if at all, depends on its location.

    In the Indus basin's upper catchment areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan, for example, the destruction of bridges has literally left entire cities, urban settlements, and villages cut off from the rest of the world. People in this area may not have lost their lives or homes in as great numbers as were seen in Punjab and Sindh, but lack of access to roads and markets will almost certainly stymie any rehabilitation and future development. In Punjab, flooding caused by burst embankments has caused extensive damage in Muzaffargarh district. There, entire villages along with government infrastructure -- schools, dispensaries, police stations, hospitals -- have simply been swept away and need to be replaced. In Sindh, damage caused by the floods has affected the next cropping season. There, subsistence farmers are looking for means to ensure their families can get at least a meal a day.

    Clearly, any response by the federal or provincial governments must be sensitive to the diversity of the flood relief and rehabilitation effort. However, a crucial element necessary for relief efforts is missing -- that is, input about the needs and demands of each flood-affected area provided by a representative local government system. This entire third tier of government is in a state of flux, and has been since the 2008 general elections. Elected political actors, especially in Punjab, have yet to finally decide the framework of a new local government system. Meanwhile, with the ability of local governments to engage in flood relief and rehabilitation compromised by this political uncertainty, the ability of provincial and federal governments to tailor relief efforts will remain stunted.

    In the past, top-down economic planners might have been more inclined to, say, commission a billion-rupee highway or dam than invest monies in human resources or environmentally sustainable means of transportation or electricity generation. These decisions haven't always been wrong. Pakistan's industrial development from the 1960s onward very much premised itself on this type of development theory. But Pakistan in the 1960s is totally different from the Pakistan of today. The old rules for repairing Pakistan don't apply anymore. Since the 1960s, development planning has moved beyond the "if you build, they will come" paradigm and now incorporates elements such as governance and human resource management. Yet governance and human resource management are issues that government, to this date, scarcely debates.

    As a developing country, Pakistan has almost always been dependent on foreign investment to finance its infrastructure projects. This is also the case post-flood. Political actors and the bureaucracy in Pakistan must take care not to fall into the familiar pattern of abdicating to foreign lenders the responsibility of planning and executing infrastructure development. Again and again, long-term holistic development planning is replaced by multilaterally funded project-based development. This is a pitfall that makes Pakistan even more vulnerable given its political instability and the relative stability foreign investment brings.

    But what is the right model of infrastructure development for Pakistan, and where will it come from? There is a growing view, in Pakistan's Planning Commission, of all places, that international aid and lending isn't working and that Pakistan can solve its economic and development problems with home grown solutions. This view holds that there is an immense wealth of capital locked in the country's urban centers by an archaic property law regime and that this capital can be unlocked by introducing a cadastre system of title registration and loosening colonial-era building regulations. This view holds that if civil-service perks are monetized, the stranglehold the bureaucracy has on the status quo and development paradigm can be removed. This view holds that if government adventurism (and expenditure) can be curtailed, there will be space and money available in the private sector that can spur economic activity and investment in infrastructure development.

    But what this view assumes is that Pakistan is flush with political will and leadership. These are two commodities that, unfortunately, are in short supply. It would be unfortunate if the Pakistani government and state did not take this opportunity to realign its infrastructure development priorities and brought them into the 20th century. The manner in which the Pakistani state assumes its responsibility to its flood-affected population will define the citizen-state equation in Pakistan in the near and mid future. However, at this stage, one can only pray for the will and leadership that can produce a new equation.

    Ahmad Rafay Alam is a member of the department of law & policy at the Lahore University of Management Sciences and the department of architecture at the University of the Punjab, and a columnist at the News and Express Tribune. You can follow him on twitter at www.twitter.com/rafay_alam.
     
  17. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    SPEND AID MONEY ON DEVELOPMENT
    By Nancy Birdsall, Wren Elhai, and Molly Kinder
    Pakistan's worst-in-memory floods, covering a geographic area that would stretch from Maine to North Carolina have put the country at grave risk of slipping even deeper into chaos. The floods alone are more than any government should have to bear, and Pakistan faces them handicapped by an active insurgency, an already beleaguered economy, and a fragile civilian government. Yet, if Pakistan is to be a secure, legitimate, and capable state -- as well as a reliable U.S. ally -- it must pull off a successful reconstruction effort.

    Official estimates now suggest the cost of this effort could exceed the entire $30 billion annual budget of Pakistan's federal government, making donor support -- including from the United States -- absolutely critical. Before the floods, Congress had pledged $7.5 billion over five years in non-military aid to Pakistan. Now, after the floods, those in charge of spending that money must ask themselves two questions: What is the most pressing constraint on economic stability and growth in Pakistan that can be improved by U.S. aid? And how can the United States ensure the greatest bang for the American bucks spent in Pakistan?

    The floods fundamentally changed the problems Pakistan faces, and pre-flood plans to build new hospitals, refurbish power plants, and drill thousands of tube wells no longer address Pakistan's top priorities. Flood-damaged infrastructure is now the main constraint to long-term economic growth and poverty reduction in the most populous and productive parts of the country. Farmers and factories need the very basics -- roads, bridges, and electricity -- before economic activity can rebound and people displaced by the floods can return to work. This year and next, the bulk of the aid money already allocated by Congress should be repurposed to rebuild schools, bridges, and the miles of roads washed away in the floods, and to restore Pakistan's devastated farmlands.

    These sorts of basic reconstruction projects offer the best hope for the United States to get results for its aid spending. Most of Pakistan's long-term problems are not failures of money. They are failures of Pakistani government policy and administration in areas like energy policy, tax policy, education policy, and, of course, flood control and water management. No matter how much aid the United States and other donors give to Pakistan, sustainable development in those sectors will remain elusive unless Pakistan takes the initiative to pursue long-overdue reforms. Outside donors can't simply cut a check for that kind of reform.

    The United States should continue to apply constructive diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to fix these policies. It's encouraging to see that one of the key messages Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and special envoy Richard Holbrooke have been sending in the wake of the floods is the need for Pakistan's government to finally fix its tax policies and its system of tax collection. Meanwhile, however, donor money is better spent where it can make a real and immediate difference and where policy reforms are not the obstacles -- namely, on restoring the billions of dollars worth of infrastructure destroyed by the floods.

    What about legitimate concerns about corruption and waste in how U.S. reconstruction aid is spent? Given the enormous stakes, it's time to pull out all the stops and consider out-of-the-box ideas to ensure aid money isn't diverted. To make it easier to monitor this vast reconstruction effort and coordinate donor efforts, the United States could agree to replace all the flood-damaged infrastructure in certain districts, designated by the Pakistani and American governments. The United States could fund projects that help Pakistani citizens demand effective government services and could share more information on donor spending online. It was a good idea before the floods to be more transparent in our aid spending. In the context of a huge, multi-donor reconstruction effort, it is a doubly good idea.

    Of course, reconstruction spending carries risks. It would be foolish to guarantee that all of the money will be spent perfectly or will always achieve measurable results. Furthermore, we should be skeptical that even a well-managed, well-funded reconstruction effort will convince the Pakistani people to shed their deeply critical views of the United States, or will gain additional cooperation from the Pakistani military in tackling extremism along the border with Afghanistan. However, compared to what the U.S. military is spending in the region to achieve eventual peace and stability -- marked by strengthened economic opportunity and stable, democratic governance -- putting money into development is an affordable bet with a potentially huge pay-off. For its own interests, the United States should be doing everything in its power to help the people of Pakistan weather this crisis successfully.

    Nancy Birdsall is president of the Center for Global Development and chair of the CGD Study Group on a U.S. Development Strategy in Pakistan. Wren Elhai is a research and communications assistant and Molly Kinder is a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Development.
     
  18. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    As the acting director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington, Mark Ward was among the top officials coordinating relief efforts -- organizing everything from public health provisions, to temporary shelters and emergency food parcels -- in the wake of Pakistan’s unprecedented floods this summer. Fortunately, he had experience both in the region and with large-scale disasters: Ward has also chaired the agency's Tsunami, Pakistan Earthquake and Lebanon Reconstruction task forces; his most recent overseas post with USAID was in Pakistan as the mission director, serving from July 2002 through December 2003.

    Here Ward talks about Islamic piety in disaster zones, the relentless battle against cholera, and American and Pakistani priorities as they move from the flood relief phase to recovery and reconstruction.

    Foreign Policy: In the aftermath of the floods, what were the greatest health concerns?

    Mark Ward: We were concerned about water borne diseases, and cholera is probably the scariest because of how contagious it is and how lethal it is. We had a two-pronged approach: Prevent [the spread of disease] by getting clean drinking water into the hands of the people or some method to make clean drinking water, and then secondly, supplement the Pakistani public health service so that when a case is identified, we can deal with it very quickly and talk to the community about how to make sure it doesn't spread.

    FP: You said you were quite successful in dealing with the cholera outbreaks thus far. What accounts for the success?

    MW: We used any number of methods. Probably the least efficient is trucking in clean water: It's a problem when you can't use the roads. Then there's also chlorine tablets, which can clean water. But you can't just hand this stuff out, you've got to teach people how to use it and you've got to teach them over and over again. We've learned over the years you can't just go in and expect them to read the back of the package. It doesn't work that way. On the curative side, we had luckily a couple of years ago invested in something called the Disease Early Warning System with WHO. And what this did is it set up a kind of a 911 system in the country where if a health worker at the lowest level, like a community health worker, saw signs of cholera, they were told who to alert in a chain of command.

    FP: What types of programs or causes do you think we, or Pakistan, should focus on that we're really not focusing on right now?

    MW: Shelter. It's a different challenge than in the immediate relief phase because you're not talking about some temporary shelter -- you're now talking about what we would call transitional shelter because people have moved home. In some parts of the north, there may not be enough time to rebuild permanent housing for the winter, so just like we did during the 2005 earthquake, we will give them some materials to allow them to build what we call "one warm dry room" so they can get through the winter.

    Another thing that is very important for recovery is agriculture. Obviously people need food. We can continue to provide food, but it is such an enormous number of people and as they go home, they have the ability to plant and grow the food themselves. For the vulnerable farmers, the ones with less than two acres, we'll give them seeds and fertilizer so that they don't have to rely on the free food. Soon they'll be able to raise their own food.

    FP: Were there issues relating to religious sensitivities, given that foreigners and non-Pakistanis were delivering aid?

    MW: They don't see us very often. We do occasionally come to monitor, but USAID uses a lot of Pakistani surrogates out seeing how the work is going as well. And actually one of the greatest sources of education is the imams. And we always talk to the imams about using Friday prayers to teach hygiene. They consider that part of their job during Friday prayers.

    FP: How have relations with the Pakistani government affected your work?

    MW: Well, at my level, in terms of engaging on disaster relief, they've been great. I guess my only criticism of the Pakistani government is that I wish that the National Disaster Management Authority had been bigger and more experienced when the floods hit. It is a new organization, there's not very much staff.

    FP: When people on the ground in Pakistan say "USAID has done a good job working with the government, but this government is simply incompetent," how do you respond to that?

    MW: I try to be hopeful and say, let's wait and see what the ministry of finance, what the planning commission, whichever part of the government, let's see the plan that they put in front of the donor community next month -- before we say they can't manage their money. I know it is the hope of the United States -- and I know many countries around the world -- that the government of Pakistan will come up with a very good plan that's very transparent with lots of accountability. If the government really wants the donor community to funnel money through the government mechanism, they're going to have to convince the donor countries that this is a process that works.

    FP: Are U.S. relief efforts getting the credit that they deserve?

    MW: Well, we are giving the most. But that's not our first focus. Our first focus is getting the aid out there, trying to save lives: We're looking at 20 million people affected. The marketing, yes, it's important -- it's very important for the Pakistani people and the American people to know what our money is providing. But our first order of business is getting the aid out there.

    FP: Many analysts have said that if the U.S. didn't help Pakistan, that there's a good chance the Taliban would step into that vacuum. Are you concerned that might happen?

    MW: No. Our response has been huge. In other situations where we've found ourselves in the same space as extremist groups that are providing relief, there's just been no comparison between the magnitude of our assistance and what they provide.
     
  19. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,543
    Location:
    Somewhere
    This article is an expose on the gross mismanagement of the flood relief and the pathetic state of governance and administration in Pakistan.

    It is worth reading and the facts mulled over to realise how Pakistan is their own worst enemy.

    They require no one to mess their country since they are themselves so incompetent and corrupt, that they only believe in self preservation and nothing beyond.

    I feel sorry for the Pakistani population.
     

Share This Page