US concerned over Pak diverting aid money for other purposes

US concerned over Pak diverting aid money for other purposes

 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and lawmakers have expressed concern over diversion of its aide money by Pakistan for other purposes, even as the United States has tried to build a fire wall in this regard.

"Well, we certainly have constructed one," Clinton told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing yesterday when Senator Jim Webb asked if the United States has developed a firewall in the financial aid going into Pakistan, so that they do not directly or indirectly assist in expansion of their nuclear programme.

"I think the fair question is: Even with a firewall, if you provide aid for other purposes, does that permit the government then to divert funds that should be spent for health, education, energy, etc to that programme?  And it remains a serious concern of mine, Senator," Clinton said.

She said that part of the ongoing dialogue with Pakistan is around the reforms they need to make for their own people, she said, adding that the latter over the years has invested a great deal in its military.

"They have invested the great bulk of their revenues into their military establishment, including their nuclear programme, to the great cost of providing basic education, health care, electricity -- the kinds of things that would demonstrate to the people of Pakistan they had a government that number one, cared about them; and number two, produced for them," she said.

"So I can answer the direct question: Yes, we have a firewall, but that isn't the end of the dialogue -- as you know very well. And we're going to keep pressing hard to make sure that, you know, the IMF and the World Bank and we and others are working toward the kind of reforms that are going to stabilise Pakistan for the long term," Clinton said.

Meanwhile, Senator Webb said that the Obama Administration has increased its financial aid to Pakistan in the fiscal 2013. Financial aid of USD 2.4 billion into the country actually reflects an increase in funding for its military as compared to last year.