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US aid to Pakistan over the last 10 years has been two billion dollars a year, which translates into around 12 dollars for every Pakistani. Compare this with American aid to Israel (three billion dollars a year), which amounts to 375 dollars for every Israeli (Israel's population is eight million).

Each citizen of Israel, therefore, gets more than 30 times the aid given to every Pakistani. But this is not all. It's well-known that most of the aid given by the US does not benefit the common man. The aid is conditional upon using American consultants and equipment, which (together with other charges) amount to about 50 percent. From the rest, a sizeable chunk is siphoned away to private bank accounts, leaving about 20 percent for the common man.

So, it's the US, which benefits most from the aid it gives. Should we continue taking aid from the US, since it is not really aid (as it has to be repaid with interest)? I believe that considering what we have sacrificed to further America's interests in the region, we should ask the US to write-off all the "aid" it has given us.

SHAKIR LAKHANI (KARACHI)
Published in Business Recorder, 2nd October 2011

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