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'Pakistan is like a black hole for American aid'

May 17, 2012 01:51 IST

Noting that the United States has provided a whooping $24 billion in aid to Pakistan in last decade, American lawmakers today accused it of providing shelter to terrorists and said Islamabad is like a black hole for US aid.

"Pakistan is like a black hole for American aid. Our tax dollars go in, our diplomats go in (sometimes), our aid professionals go in (sometimes), our hopes go in, our prayers go in. Nothing good comes out," Congressman Gary Ackerman, Ranking Democrat member in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Sub Committee on the Middle East and South Asia, said at a Congressional hearing.

"Since FY 2004, we have sunk $24 billion in foreign assistance to Pakistan. It is hard to fathom how so much money can buy so little. Waste at this scale requires not only an oblivious body politic and Congress, but a large cadre of government professionals and a horde of contractors," he said.

Pakistan's government, civil-military relationship, and economy are not an iota less dysfunctional than they were 10 years ago, and in some respect are probably worse, he said.

Ackerman alleged that Pakistan continues to pursue its national interest at America's expense and that of its actual allies.

"Pakistan continues to shelter, directly support and sponsor terrorist. Officially acknowledging this indisputable fact might be grossly impolitic; but that doesn't make it less true. American standing in Pakistani public opinion is terrible and getting worse," he said.

"When polled last year, three out of four Pakistanis regard the United States unfavorably and more than half hold it to be bad thing that Osama Bin Laden sleeps with the fish.

Does anyone think another 10 years and another $24 billion will turn things around?" he asked. The billions of aid given to Pakistan since 9/11 has not yielded any result, said senior Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

Pakistanis are terrorizing their neighbors and crushing their own people, he alleged.

"We should cut Pakistan off of every cent because they (US aid) are used for evil purposes. It is even being used to kill Americans," he alleged.

"It is time we face reality and admit our mistakes," he said, adding that the US should not stop supporting failed policies and corrupt dictators.

Congressman Robert Turner in his remarks noted that Pakistan has been a difficult country in its long history. It has harbored jihadists and is devalued of basic human rights values, he said.

Lalit K Jha in Washington