Pakistan army denies misuse of American aid

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Islamabad, Feb 29 (UNI) Pakistan Army has denied the allegation that American aid to cover the operational cost of the war on terror was being ''misspent''.

Media reports had suggested that the 5.4 billion dollars assistance package to Pakistan came under scrutiny after allegations that as much as 70 per cent of it was being ''misspent''.

''As far as the military is concerned, I can assure you we have full account of these things,'' chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said.

''Yes there are minor issues they keep raising, but at no stage have we received any formal complaint from any official channel,'' he said.

The Washington Post had reported last week that a ''claim for roads and tracks'' from the Pakistani navy had been rejected.

Gen Abbas said the navy was ''also involved in the war on terror because they have to guard against infiltration of arms and explosive from abroad.'' According to the Guardian, the US had paid the operating costs of Pakistan's military operations in the Tribal Areas - averaging 80 million dollar a month - since 2002.

It said the Pakistani military submitted expense claims to the US embassy in Islamabad every month. ''No receipts are provided, and the money is paid directly into the Ministry of Finance.'' ''American officials processing the payments at the US embassy in Islamabad have concluded that the Pakistani expense claims have been vastly inflated,'' the British newspaper quoted two western military officials as saying. It did not identify the officials.

''My back of envelope guesstimate is that 30 percent of the money they requested to be reimbursed was legitimate costs they expended,'' said one official.

He said the US did not know what happened to the remaining 70 per cent - approximately 3.8 million dollar. The newspaper also quoted him as saying that ''at least half the money was thought to have disappeared.'' ''Poorly accounted claims caused the US to suspend payments for several months last spring,'' the second official told the Guardian.


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