Pak govt worried over misuse of American aid by army: Cables

Pak govt worried over misuse of American aid by army: Cables

The cables, provided by WikiLeaks to Dawn newspaper, disclose there was tension between Pakistan's civilian government and the powerful army over the use of funds provided for counter-insurgency operations.

According to one cable, then Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin asked former US Ambassador Anne Patterson during a November 2009 meeting "to keep him informed of funds the US directs to the Pakistani military".

Tarin said he would not reduce the military’s budget based on US assistance flows but made it clear that his ministry "needs to be kept aware for overall budgeting purposes".
Tarin complained to the US envoy that army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani "does not pass on this information".

In another meeting in September 2009, Patterson said the US had purchased equipment worth USD 370 million for the military through its Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund but Tarin said he was "unaware of this".

Tarin said he "would work to see that the purchases of these items were removed from the army's capital budget".

During the November 2009 meeting, Tarin provided figures to prove that the majority of allocations from the US Coalition Support Fund – money provided to reimburse Pakistan’s expenses in the war on terror – had not been used for counter-insurgency purposes or for the military, a cable revealed.

These funds had been given to the regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.Tarin said a detailed analysis by the finance ministry had "concluded that, of the total of USD 6.6 billion the US had provided to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund, only some USD 250 million had actually gone to the Pakistani army under President Musharraf; the rest had gone into the regular budget, protestations by the then-government to the contrary notwithstanding".

Previously released cables have revealed US concerns about possibly inflated CSF claims by the Pakistan Army and a new cable revealed that the US feared the civilian government that succeeded Musharraf would continue to use the CSF for budgetary support.

"The temptation for the new coalition government to tap CSF for non-military purposes will be high; if we are going to consider ways to improve the implementing mechanisms of CSF, the time to act is now," said a diplomatic cable sent in March 2008 just after the last general election.

"The new coalition government will be seeking new sources of revenue to pay for social programmes promised in the campaign; the large military budget and the CSF payments will be a tempting target to mine," it said.

On the other hand, the Pakistan People’s Party-led government expressed mistrust about the army's use of CSF funds.

"The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) finance expert, Syed Naveed Qamar...expressed skepticism of the military’s CSF claims and asked the US to increase oversight and ensure that 'claims were not over-inflated or siphoned off into private coffers'," said a cable.
A senior PML-N leader too "expressed his conviction that the military budget should be more transparent and subject to parliamentary scrutiny".

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