Washington, Sep 8 : Democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden has drawn up a long-term plan for the US to help Pakistan economically, in a bid to strengthen the state against Islamist extremism.
But the problem is that Pakistan may not be able to wait that long for the aid, The News reported.
America should give emergency aid to the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the Pakistani military offensives in Bajaur in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Swat in the North West Frontier Province.
These should be focused on the North West Frontier Province. The planned 750 million dollar aid for the tribal areas is a good idea in itself, but given the security situation and lack of basic infrastructure in these areas, it will be many years before this money can be spent effectively. Meanwhile, the North West Frontier Province itself is in grave danger from the militants.
Pakistanis are angry due to rising food prices and lengthening electricity cuts, which could combine with hostility to the government's campaign against the insurgents and to alliance with America.
Pakistan's new president Asif Ali Zardari is already hated by much of the population, in part because he is seen as too pro-American.
Sharif's popularity has soared in recent months, partly due to his opposition to Pakistani help to the Americans in Afghanistan and criticism of the Army's campaign against the insurgents.