'Chastened' US in no mood to hand Musharraf-era type blank cheques to Pak : Editorial

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Islamabad, Sep.8 (ANI): While Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is pushing the Obama Administration to hasten the process of releasing the humanitarian aid that Washington has pledged, according to an editorial in a leading Pakistan daily, the US is in no mood to issue 'blank cheques' without accountability once again like it did during General Pervez Musharraf's regime.

The United States is seeking to provide 1.5 billion dollars of annual assistance to Pakistan for five years through the Kerry Lugar bill, but it has also clarified that the aid would be stringed to prevent it from being misutilised.

While Gilani has time and again urged the US to provide the assistance as soon as possible and opposed the same being funneled through NGO's, the editorial highlighted the credibility aspect behind the White House's reluctance in releasing the funds.

"Corruption has long been part and parcel of governance in Pakistan and the world knows it, as do citizens of this country. Even if foul play is ruled out, our bloated bureaucracies are notorious for their apathy or incompetence, or both. Fiscal as well as operational audit and accountability are key concerns for foreign donors and they may not be comfortable with Islamabad's ability to deliver on these counts," The Dawn editorial stated.

The editorial said that international donors now no longer trusted Islamabad, as they have learnt from their past experience of how the financial assistance was diverted and never used for the purpose it was originally meant for.

"Donors have learned from the '90s and are unlikely to throw money at the kind of fly-by-night NGOs that used to crop up like a rash whenever any development project was floated," it said.

It highlighted on the need of honest assessment by the Gilani government and taking Capitol Hill under its confidence before asking for more financial assistance or other support.

"The government, for its part, must make an honest assessment of its capacity and present a detailed plan of operation that will satisfy lawmakers in the US," the editorial concluded. (ANI)

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