The Significant 'other' factors reshaping Pakistan's war on terror
Nevertheless, I for one shall not be carried away by past experiences and lose sight of new factors that suggest that Pakistan may have turned the corner. There is more at play than meets the eye.US troops are going home and so is US moneyWhen the US military campaign in Afghanistan came knocking at our door, the country was under a host of economic and military sanctions imposed by none other than the US itself.The Pressler Amendment of 1985 had bound the US president to annually certify that a country receiving military or economic aid from US was not pursuing a nuclear program. For five years, President Regan and then President Bush (Senior) signed the certificate, up until the Soviets finally withdrew from Afghanistan.The US non-military aid to Pakistan for the period 1991-2001 averaged just $75 million per year, while the total military aid during the eleven year period was a paltry $7 million.All of this changed in September 2001. President Bush (Junior) waived Pressler, Symington and Glenn Amendments and the US Congress voted to allow the President to waive ‘democracy sanctions’. This broke loose a flood of US money.US military aid to Pakistan in the first year of the new war, 2002, was a staggering $1.74 billion. The non-military economic assistance that year was $937 million.
Bloomberg quotes Congressional Research Service claiming, the U.S. paid Pakistan $11 billion out of the Pentagon’s Coalition Support Fund budget as of 2013. Including other military and economic aid, the US has given Pakistan about $28 billion during the 12 years through 2014.General Raheel Sharif got an extension in the Coalition Support Fund for 2015 worth $1 billion during his recent visit to the US. But by 2016, US will be completely out of its combat status in Afghanistan.
Peace is a pre-requisite to growth and it is only possible if terrorism is uprooted and we embark on a new era of regional cooperation.Pakistan cannot afford to lose China as a friend
The recent upsurge in terror acts is blamed on the Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which, despite its shortcomings, the world has come to recognise as a step forward in the fight against terrorism.Two weeks before the launch of Zarb-e-Azb, (on June 15, 2014), General Raheel Sharif paid a visit to China, holding meetings with political and military leadership of the new global power.Since then, there has been a crisscross of meetings between US, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
China has advised Pakistan to settle its disputes with India through talks. It has also exhorted ‘neighbours of Afghanistan’ to not meddle in its internal affairs. It has come out in support of the new government in Kabul and has signed economic cooperation agreements worth tens of billions of dollar with Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.A new economy is emerging in the region, and China is a dominant player in it.CBeijing has recently said it is investing $300 billion in the region and a good part of this is going in developing roads and railways that will link China with Europe and other regions. One important route shall pass through Pakistan and China wants its merchandise to flow on it, but is wary of religious extremism traveling back into its already troubled region.Three: China has stakes in the region’s economy. It already has a $3.5 billion copper mining contract at Mes Aynak near Kabul. China's appetite for mineral resources is insatiable.Besides that, many of the Chinese investments in other countries of the region can materialise or optimise if there are no cross-country hindrances. This provides “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to kick-start the two redundant economies of Pakistan and Afghanistan.”.So Pakistan is left with China as the only reliable military partner – and it certainly cannot afford to lose or annoy her.