The US has unilaterally suspended $ 300 million which was financial reimbursement for logistical and military support to US military operations by Pakistan. Unfortunately poorly negotiated agreements by relevant quarters representing Pakistan and US hegemony with their change in priorities and strategic alliances have emboldened them to link what was basically reimbursement for work done already with conditionalities for their newly adopted policy for South Asia.

In any case Pakistan is a poor country with limited finances and should never have agreed to defer payments. A cursory review of those involved will reveal that they and their families benefited in terms of assets acquired beyond their declared sources of income, scholarships for their children and facilitating them in acquiring foreign nationalities etc. Musharraf junta facilitated Americans by allowing them to use our airbases, and road infrastructure for logistic support and supply with almost negligible reimbursement to national exchequer. Had Pakistan levied charges on use of our infrastructure in advance as is the practice, this country would not have faced humiliation in terms of suspension of CSF. It is not just financial loss in terms of CSF, but rise in terrorist activities, a consequence motivated by our partnership in US-Afghan war, that has inflicted losses of billions to our economy, human fatalities and miseries for our citizens.

It would have been in the best interest of Pakistan not to have got involved in US proxy war. However having got itself involved, the payment schedule should have been to get advance payment for cost incurred on expected use of our infrastructure for logistical purposes and military cooperation in advance, with balance to be adjusted through joint audit and review. Lessons need to be learned from past follies and guilty punished.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, September 3.