Should the West provide a Marshall Plan for Pakistan
Western troops are fighting the so-called War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq, but Pakistan is also engaged in the war fighting Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters on its own soil.
While Western troops are not involved in the fighting in Pakistan, the West has pressured Pakistan, a poor country, to take up its War on Terror.
Should the West pay for rebuilding a country devastated by fighting that its troops have not been directly involved in?
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The West owes Pakistan for taking up the fight
It is disingenuous to suggest that the West has had little to do with the devastation caused by Pakistan's war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The West does owe Pakistan. The West has pressured Pakistan to fight, while Islamabad has on several occasions shown its preference to engage the fighters and negotiate. Quite apart from this, the US carries out drone attacks on areas in Pakistan's North and South Waziristan regions, devastating villages and local economies and further destabilising the country.
Helping Pakistan economically would benefit the West
Fighting the "war on terror" is not working. It is further radicalising the population of Pakistan's tribal areas which suffer the brunt of the attacks. Far from being crushed, Taliban forces have actually gained ground, moving further into Pakistan and carrying out attacks across the country. It is time for a new tactic and a Marshall Plan for Pakistan could help address humanitarian and social issues - including, ending the poverty that pushes people into the Taliban's service and tackling Pakistan's madrassas, or religious schools, some of which are accused of radicalising students to fight the West.
Corruption in Pakistan would render the aid ineffective
Pakistan has a history of corruption - it ranked 134 on Transparency International's corruption perceptions index for 2008(1). President Zardari himself has been labelled Mr 10% and spent several years in jail on corruption charges. It is already unclear where current US funding for Pakistan's military operations is going with some reports saying as much as 70% of it has been misspent(2).
(1) Transparency International, 'Corruption Perceptions Index 2008', available online: http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2008
(2)Walsh, D. (2008) 'Up to 70% of US aid to Pakistan 'misspent', Guardian, 27 Feb, available online: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/27/pakistan.usa
No one said that the Pakistani government or officials should be given the responsibility to hand out aid. A credible institution that 'can' be trusted should be given this duty. It could be treated as a charitable act of good will.(The U.S has much to learn from the East India Company)
The act would bring America into a good light. The fact that President Obama was nice enough to call Pakistan a great nation, helped more than a bit. If the U.S would work to help re-build and fund Pakistan's infrastructure a lot of the precipitating support for the Taleban/Taliban,(and against the U.S) especially in the N.W.F.P(where many civilians have been killed and/or cut off from bare necessities) region should dissipate.
Pakistan is not in a position to benefit from a Marshall Plan
While the original Marshall Plan has been popularly associated with Europe's recovery in the aftermath of the Second World War, there is debate as to what extent it was responsible for the recovery(1).
Even if one accepts the Marshall Plan as instrumental to Europe's recovery, Europe's situation at the end of the war was quite different to that of Pakistan's situation today. Europe's institutions and infrastructure were already present but weakened by years of conflict. Pakistan's situation is different and the country requires more than a simple economic stimulus.
Pakistan does not need a Marshall Plan. It has already received plenty of aid from the West. It receives funds from Saudi Arabia and others and it also had access to financing through the correct channels, such as the International Monetary Fund, which last year (2008) granted Pakistan a $7.6bn loan(2).
(1) Cowen, T. (1985) 'The Marshall Plan: Myths and Realities', available online: http://www.gmu.edu/jbc/Tyler/Marshall_Plan.pdf
(2) 'IMF approves loan to aid Pakistan', BBC (25 Nov 2008): http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7746083.stm
As noted earlier by the opposition, Pakistan's corruption problem begs the question: Where does/did the money go?
Almost carbon-copying the earlier point:
The distribution of funds should be entrusted to credible authorities. Many NGOs can be possible candidates.
Pakistan has yet to earn such aid - it must do more in its efforts to fight terror
It is unclear to what extent Pakistan is really engaging in the West's war on terror. Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence agency (ISI) maintains roots with the Taliban having been instrumental in establishing and training them in the 1980s and 90s. Prior to the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan was close to being declared a terrorist state. Talk of a Marshall Plan is premature until it becomes clear that Pakistan is really on the West's side and that the ISI is above suspicion.
Former president Jimmy Carter,the C.I.A and the late Zia-ul-haq share the same roots. The taliban/taleban was created to fight the soviets and won America, that very important/significant war against the reds.
Prior to 9/11, are you serious?
What do you think?