US lawmakers call for accountability in aid to Pak

Pakistan must initiate and enable cooperation between our the two governments to maximise the impact of these resources, as well as create a sustainable environment for economic development, said Richard Lugar, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The US aid to Pakistan is not a one-sided effort, Lugar said at the confirmation hearing on nomination of Cameron Munter as the new US Ambassador to Pakistan.
Lugar said the US should avoid spending for the sake of spending and make clear to the Pakistani people the planning and organisation that is going on with the government at the federal and provincial levels.

Author of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill that gives USD 7.5 billion to Pakistan in five years, Lugar said in view of the devastating flood in the country, effectiveness through proper planning and implementation is more important than speed because the goal is sustainability and a long-term partnership.

"Initial implementation has proven uncertain and resources should only follow those efforts that prove effective. Additional collaboration with Pakistani institutions is necessary to assure progress," he underlined.

US lawmakers have expressed concerns that widespread corruption in Pakistan may lead to misuse of the American aid. "Some Kerry-Lugar-Berman resources may be appropriate for recovery from the floods, including early recovery, when there is a well thought-out strategy that is consistent with the goals and purposes of the legislation," the top Congressman said.

He said a shift in programming should be considered and the appropriate Committees notified. "Staff has made clear that transparency and accountability for Kerry-Lugar-Berman funding remains an elemental part of the assistance package," Lugar said.

Chairing the confirmation hearing, Senator Bob Casey said through this Kerry-Lugar-Bill investment by the US taxpayers, Washington seeks to establish partnership between the citizens of the two countries in order to truly build a stronger foundation of mutual trust.

"The durability of democratic institutions will be the long term bulwark against extremism and will allow the Pakistani people and its vibrant civil society to express its desires through peaceful democratic means," he said.

The reluctance of the global community to respond to the UN's initial appeal for more financial aid has been attributed to concerns that the foreign governments have about corruption that may lead to misuse of the grants in Pakistan.

Earlier this week, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi assured donor nations that the money sent for its flood victims will not be wasted, saying the aid would be "well spent" in a "transparent manner".

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