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Budgetary constraints, strained ties to affect US aid to Pakistan: Congressional report

August 12, 2011 - Washington

Budgetary constraints are forcing US lawmakers to seek a balance between US national security interests in Pakistan and aid to the country, a Congressional report has said.

The report, "Pakistan: US Foreign Assistance", shows the current mood in the US Congress, where lawmakers are reviewing the entire policy of providing financial assistance to other countries.

The latest Congressional Research Service (CRS) report warns that countries like Pakistan, which do not face an immediate crisis, should be ready for aid cuts.

"Given the current budgetary constraints facing the United States and the recent strained relationship, the 112th Congress may question the return on such large investments in Pakistan, the second-largest US aid recipient," The Dawn quoted the bipartisan report, as saying.

"Lawmakers will seek the right balance between US aid expenditures to promote US national security interests in Pakistan and the region versus belt-tightening foreign aid cuts and accountability measures to address the lack of trust between the two governments," the report added.

The report noted that many US experts list Pakistan among the most strategically important countries for US policy-makers. But recent major developments- including the killing of Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in Pakistan's garrison town of Abbottabad- have put strains on bilateral relations, making the future direction of US aid to Pakistan uncertain, the CRS reported.

Mounting distrust in US-Pakistan ties would also be a consideration for the American lawmakers, it warned.


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