How would you spend non-military aid?

How would you spend non-military aid? invites its readers to debate current affairs in this forum.

US Senator John Kerry arrived in Pakistan on Monday to discuss a proposed bill envisaging US$1.5 billion of economic assistance per year to Pakistan over the next five years. During his visit, Senator Kerry, who is also the Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will touch on regional and security issues in meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, but the focus will be on future civilian and military aid.

If you could share a cup of tea with Senator Kerry during his stay in Islamabad, what would you ask him about the US’s plan for non-military assistance to Pakistan? How do you think non-military aid, which Pakistan is due to receive under the Kerry-Lugar bill, should be spent? What would you suggest Senator Kerry insist upon during meetings with the Pakistani leadership on how to distribute and allocate civilian aid?


Comments Guide: encourages its readers to share their views on our forums. We try to accommodate all users' comments but this is not always possible due to space and other constraints. Please our read our comments guidelines below for more information:

1. Please be aware that the views of our bloggers and commenters do not necessarily reflect's policies.

2. Though comments appear to have been published immediately after posting, they are actually forwarded to a moderation queue before publication.

3. Dawn reserves the right to remove or edit comments that are posted on this blog.

4. Language that is offensive to any race, religion, ethnicity, gender or nationality is not permitted.

5. Avoid posting comments in ALL CAPS. Commenters are also encouraged to avoid text contractions like 'u r.'

6. Do not cross-post comments across multiple blog entries.

7. Any comments posted to a blog entry should be relevant to the topic or discussion.

8. Do not spam the comment section.

191 Responses to “How would you spend non-military aid?”

  1. I suggest that those giving us money should refrain from giving cash, rather they should each take on a project in Pakistan and have it done themselves. The moment the money comes in the country, it won’t be seen again–except in shape on rebuilding some roads with cheap material that would get damaged in next rain.

    So, the donators should take the responsibility of restructuring Pakistan by implementing development projects themselves, and not giving us cash.

    As for the funds that are already here, the government–though impossible–should realise that they are playing with the lives of people. They already are multi billionaires and should spare some for the country.We can’t do much in this sense besides praying that Allah puts mercy in their hearts. The government is fighting over petty issues of the power and ignoring the broad picture.The soon we realise the better before we again become slaves to others–then I am sure all these people would leave the Pakistan leaving innocent people to the miseries.

  2. Anwer Moten says:

    The best way to spend non military aid? First and foremost build a clean, efficient, punctual, fragrant, air conditioned and subsidized mass transit system, overhead or underground, in all the major cities of Pakistan. Every morning and evening we see millions of commuters packed like sardines in hot, stuffy and smelly buses going to and coming from their places of work. How can we expect these workers to be in the right frame of mind when they arrive at their place of work or for that matter at their place of learning or when returning home after a day of sweaty labor? .I believe that building these MTS’ will generate more goodwill than all the aid or dole outs we have received in the last 60 years. Moreover, we can expect productivity to increase manifold in all spheres not to mention the self respect restored to all who go through this daily ordeal.

  3. Amin Beg says:

    Aha, good question! May sound pessimistic, but this is how it will be used: 50% will never land in Pakistan. 40 % corrupt officials and politicians. 10% cosmetic projects to gain cheap popularity.

  4. naik mm says:

    It goes without saying that any transfer of funds given to a country is given on specifics. The funds transferred have to be audited and accounted for. Why are the donor agencies not following up once the funds are transferred? In a totally corrupt country it is understood that development and growth will hardly be seen as the funds do not reach the purpose for what it was given in the first place. Pakistan is well known for its ever growing hunger for aid. To convince the donor nations, India and Afghanistan are vehemently portrayed as the sole reasons for their present predicament. Pakistan has to be kept under close watch not only in terms of aid flowing inwards, they have to be closely watched for the growth of terrorism at a logarithmic rate. Their nuclear assets may be within the reach of Taliban any moment now. An Iron hand approach by every sane country should be immediatly exercised.

  5. John Wasserman says:

    It is an offensive question: How should we spend the money we have begged ? Is there no sense of shame anymore ?

    How about how do we become self-reliant and not beg for money ?

  6. Syed says:

    I have a question:
    Why does Pakistan require aid?

    I’m not sure if receiving money for defense spending is cost effective if you are only allowed to use that money for operations against Pakistani or Afghani citizens. Do you need F-16’s and guided missles to fight young Pathaan men, how effective has that been? When these equipment were used against India, how effective were we?

    Pakistan requires investment in infrastructure for public health/housing (sanitation, vaccinations, medicines, hospitals, housing projects, worker training programs) education (technological, artistic, AND islamic)

    Pakistan should not require any food aid, it is not logical given the amount of land reserved for crops, grave inefficiencies here.

    The Pakistani government should play a greater Islamic role in its citizens lives, because that is what they demand, otherwise they may unfortunately have to deal with impending vigilantism, and chaos in its big cities. For those who espouse the poverty vs Islam arguments
    Why should this lifestyle be mutually exclusive of public parks, libraries, affordable entertainment, and intermingling of social classes? The government can do more to improve both areas of life, and that would be possible if the silent majority (perhaps not in Lahore) were empowered to elect Islamically like minded politicians (assuming democracy would work in a country where its citizens care more about subethnicities rather than any sense of national unity, and where the dominant language used by the government (English) is not what is spoken by the populace (Urdu, and more etc). I’ll be honest i have a pro-Islamic bias, but I feel that I have explained my argument from a neutral perspective.

    Pakistan may have to consider coming in to agreement with Afghanistan, either liberating NWFP or repatriating it to Afghanistan (if you are concerned about illegal cross border movement). Pakistan has to figure how to get off the “chessboard”.

    Pakistan should attempt to enforce the land reform laws that are already on its books to limit the disproportionate amount of power hereditary landowners possess. How can we limit the amount of undue influence politicians amass in terms of wealth (some officially given ie cars, residences, exorbitant salaries, and some thru bribes)

    For 60 years Pakistanis still are lacking, relative to what they need, a sense of national unity, and still flock to parties that only represent ethnic subtypes, or that support politicians in a personality-cult like manner.

    Pakistan has to invest fairly into each of its provinces or deal with potential (or existing) nationalist movements in virtually all of its provinces

    As a pro Islamic, pro Pakistani, second generation Pakistani-American that supports the two nation theory, I will try to convince my government (US) to leave Pakistan alone, what will you do?

    Don’t just blame Zia (although he is partially guility): America and Russia are to blame, but why did we have to take sides? (the prophet saws did not chose between the persians, or the byzantines, rather they both declined over time)

    And finally, this is not the pakistan of bhutto, it is the pakistan of quaid e azam and philosophers of the like of iqbal

    How about some independence?

  7. Nasir Mehdi says:

    Not a single penny should find its way into the parasitic hands of Govt and Army and Mullahs. Now is the time to reduce the role of Mullahs by not listening to them.

  8. ali says:

    How would you spend non military aid?

    Such a stupid question, how have all the past military aids or non military aids been spent? who spent it all? where was it spent? actually how much of other countries hard earned tax payers money was spent? was it really passed on or distributed among givers and takers?? But most important question is,, Did the past aids help reduce the poverty,illiteracy,helplessness of the masses or it helped our previous rulers and their friends in pakistan and out of pakistan? And what guarantee do we have that this aid injected in pakistan’s failing economy not misused by establishment of the country?? If you are unable to answer half of these questions i seek, then i think you better inject this dose of aid somewhere its as badly needed as pakistan but well used.

  9. Syed says:


    I have a simple solution.

    When we are not sure of how to spend why don’t we ask the USA to select an US Based NGO and monitor the NGO. We can be 100% sure that every dollar goes where it should go.

    IT is clean and we will have no mess handling the toxic waste called aid money.

    This way, we can be very sure that we will have no guilt feeling of having to live on the dole amount because we do not directly handle the money. Also the NGO have better track record of delivering the goods.

    All will be happy except the discredited army, politicians and the mullah and their chela taliban.

  10. To Educate the masses but should not be given to corrupt University Professors Mafia of Pakistan, who have done nothing for the good o f Pakistan even after getting millions of dollars from HEC. They just went on trips abroad and swallow all the money. Can they tell us what they did in Musharaf years when the door of treasury is open to them.

  11. Sunil says:

    Education for start. BTW I am surprised at the question. Question should be how to become self reliant? What is very clear is that Pakistan is not a country with oil wells hence it have to live in global village. I bet the day OPEC runs out of oil they will stop living on a island.

  12. sher khan says:

    what do u mean how the money should be spend? it should be divided between all the politicians and send aboard to there swiss accounts!

  13. ustad says:

    Most important challenge Pakistan facing at this point is Militancy, extreme radicalisation of society, and lack proper democratic sytem and net result poor economy and a weak state.

    whatever money you pump in to the country it will not change or improve the over all situation, changes need to start from government and civil society first they need to understand their priorities and stop wasting energy and resources in building up military capabilities rather than spending on education and poverty eradication.

    Unless fundamentals are not changed next 5 years would be a critical time for Pakistani state

  14. Larry Stout says:

    Tax money, more often than not, is misspent by government, and if given over to another government will be twice misspent. Plutocrats are the most short-sighted people in the world, destroying the world that would be their grandchildren’s for the sake of today’s glittering, filthy lucre.
    Call me a cynic — I hear the word as “realist”.

  15. Suleman Maniya, Göteborg,Sweden says:

    I believe the optimum way to spend the money would through the grassroots level. All those countries which have pledged to provide assistance should notify which regions they want to work in through their local organizations like the USAID,JICA etc.This would be a surgical approach since these NGO’s know what is best rather than our clumsy,corrupt government and the ‘mega corrupt army’.
    Moreover this regional approach would help in less duplication of resources besides helping people in those areas take note of the development and good work done by these countries and help in generating more goodwill.
    We dont want to enrich the government and its cronies with 5Bn USD’s!!
    Everyone knows how the money was pilfered after the Earthquake and other disasters which have afflicted us!!

  16. Too Little Too Late for Pakistan

    At an aid forum in Japan, the world’s wealthy pledged to donate $5 billion to Pakistan. The aid conference was a joint affair between Japan and the World Bank, and 30 governments participated. We believe that this commitment is meaningless if the world wants to help the Pakistani state in its current form.

  17. Priyabrata says:

    The question should not be how to utilise the fund, rather who will utilise the fund?
    In our sub-continent all the problems are due to lack of honest hand who can distribute the resources of people to the People. In Pakistan this is even more a difficult situation as the distributing hand becomes hands; Civilian Govt, Millitary establishment, Religious bodies. The land of Pure should be the civilian Govt.(Representative of common Pakistanis without any intervention of Military and ISI.) Start thinking through your own eyes. Then you will find who is the best to manage the fund. The establishment should fear you, not the other way (Though India is not close to it; at least we all are aware of it and trying to close the gap). If you people leave this suggestion to be handled by your present civilian Govt then you will be missing the bus once again. The only way you can force accountability on the present Govt. is by showing a level of confidence in yourself. You need to stand against any kind of divisive force in your country, raise your bar for patriotism without religious flavor in it. If you (Progressive patriots) takes the reign of Pakistan, then as an Indian I can assure you People like me will be the first line of defence against any aggression against Pakistan

  18. Naveed Lotia says:

    I would spend the money on abolishing madrassahs in the country and instead focus on significantly improving the ‘secular’ education system, introducing modern subjects such as math, science, the social sciences and ethics into the curriculum. I would also allocate a budget for cost of books, room and board etc for poor children.

    I believe that all knowledge available to humanity has been created and/or revealed by God so there is absolutely no reason to make a distinction between a ‘religious’ versus a ‘secular’ education.

  19. Amin Lalani says:

    I would say that the grant should go into direct assistance. We got many education, health and government institution needed capacity building. We need curriculum in education, we need international stardards and training in health sectors, we need capacity building in our public sector so that they can be more efficient and effective.

  20. lilly says:

    Depending on the World for Aid has been become habit for Pakistan. When Pak get the Aid, I believe 40% of money goes into contractors/Builders/Politicians and 40% goes into Nuclear Weapons/Army and rest will be used for development in the country. Even though country does little development, that is not actually utilized by the Pakistanis, since that was bombed by militents/talibans/extrimists. So whatever, they are getting the AID, that is used for its purpose.

    Pakistanis are not understanding the value of AID. If someone (Ex.A) works very hard to earn money, then he will know the value of it. He will be heartbroken, if he looses it. If someone (Ex.B) get the money in AID or lottery, then he may feel bad or sad, once he loses it. But (Ex.B)s pain is not same as (Ex.B)s’ pain.

    What my point is Pakistanies do not know that value of AID, what external countries/people are giving, they will only understand, if the money earned by(taxes paid)them is wasted. They they will demand/orotest the culprits to stop demaging the schools,maques and institutions

  21. Khuda ka banda says:

    I am quite surprised that most of the comments so seriously outline what they think is the right way to spend this money. Education, helath, infrastructure etc are the common refrain, in sum total the people are crying hoarse to build the country.
    However, I am also surprised that no one questions the fact that Pakistan has lived on dole for far too long, its people have lost their dignity through poor governance be it by the military or the civil wizards and yet there isnt much of an out cry to stop seeking aid and get the nation to start developing itself towards self reliance. It may take 25 years but each day closer to that goal will bring much more happiness all round than getting a few billions thrown at your door every now and then with a list of directions on how to live your life.
    My suggestion is to ensure this money does not go into the wrong hands and these are clearly the Army, the Taliban and the politician, not necessarily in that order. Anywhere else will benefit Pakistan in development and self reliance. For this to happen, the sleeping population needs to rise and have its voice heard. I think it is the most timid population in the region and it needs to change to save its country, or what is left of it.

  22. If The Pakistani State Can’t Deliver, Talk To Its Provinces And To Its Tribes (

  23. Abdul Rahman says:

    How would we spend the billions of dollars of financial Aid to Pakistan?

    We will divide up one quarter of the money among top political leaders swiss bank and other accounts.

    2nd quarter of the money will be divided among Pakistani parliament’s members personal accounts.

    3rd quarter will be divided among Pakistani military’s top generals.

    Last quarter of the aid money might be spend for some development works.

  24. Bhadri says:

    I am an Indian citizen. Firstly, there must be security provided to people of Pakistan, free from terrorists. Only then any money can be utilized.

  25. M Asghar says:

    first of all we should be thankful to U S A, because since the birth of Paistan they have ever been our supporter in the time of need as all of us witnessed during the earth quake of2006 in our home land U S A provided us un precedentle support to us at that time .NOW WE ARE IN FINANCIAL CRISES they are ready to proviide us financial support on annual bases for the coming five years.
    The problem is how we should use this support I have certain suggestions in this regard
    1 This support should only be used for industerialsation in Northern Areas .
    There should be strict check and balance by a joint team of usa and Pakistan that there should be no mal practise in this regard
    3 Pakis tan is facing worst energy crises now a days.To claim about industrialisation with out energy is to live in fools paradise.Each month brings the message of increase of prices of electricity .REAL CAUSE OF THIS RISE IN PRISES IS NOT THE INCREASE OF OIL OR GAS PRiSES IN THE WORLD BUT CORRUPTION IN THE RESPECTIVE DEPARTMENTS.Common man observes all thisand thinks that high offocials and minister of these departments are not fore sighted at all. Their such timely decisions wil bring chaos in Pakistani society.
    This money can be used in power generating sector but honesty must be given priority
    Problam of the is to tackle terrotism at any cast.Capatalism has no concern with the problems of common man .but common man easily becoms the tool of terrorists because of hunger and poverty .Multi national companies are fully involve in corruption in order to high the graph of their profit They for get that every action has its reaction .
    So USAmust realise the real cause of terrorism and provide money purily for industrialisation on Facebook on Facebook