Much of Pakistan aid remains undisbursed

March 3, 2011 at 2:04 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 3 (UPI) -- Only a small fraction of U.S. aid to Pakistan approved in 2010 has been spent during the current fiscal year, government records indicate.

Only $179.5 million of the five-year, $7.5 billion aid package has been spent in fiscal 2010, The Washington Post reported Thursday. Details of the disbursement of the aid, a priority of the administration of President Barack Obama to strengthen bilateral strategic ties, are contained in a Government Accountability Office report, newspaper said.

None of funds disbursed have gone to build Pakistan's water, energy and food resources as suggested by the late Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Post reported.

The GAO report said there is as yet no system in place to see the money is not misspent.

"The full impact of the fiscal year 2010 civilian assistance could not be determined because most of the funding had not yet been disbursed," the report said.

The office of Marc Grossman, successor to Holbrooke, was quoted as telling The Cable the aid was appropriated late and that the first year of the program posed unique challenges.

However, the Post said the issue has become an irritant in U.S.-Pakistan relations.

"There are always complaints, and in terms of the delays, there are pretty valid reasons on both sides," Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, told the Post.

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