AID = AIDS
In 1950s I could not understand how Aid could be an instrument of their foreign policy, when the American Government defended it in its Senate. In time as we grew weaker we learnt that aid is the best instrument to make a country subservient to the donor. It facilitated the powerful donor to nominate rulers of the indebted country and even to pull the rug from under their feet and nominate their successors. Aid is a misnomer. Seemingly it is a means of making loaning country’s people friend but its real purpose is to buy the ruling elite of the indebt country..
Aid started as a program to train personnel of newly independent countries in technologies for development activities like Colombo Plan. That was not a loan but helping newly independent countries to get technical training. Then Aid was like a credit card for shopping machinery and technical experts for it from within the lending countries themselves. This condition was beneficial to the lending countries as they normally sold their goods at about 20 to 30 per cent higher than if bought through international tenders. These were “project aid” for specific projects on which thorough technical discussions took place before agreeing to give aid, like Mangla Dam, Tarbella Dam, Sindh River Aerial Survey for oil deposits, construction of Warsak Dam, etc.
We misused the facility by not paying back the loan However, in those days too, aid was used as an instrument to pressure us to obey their demands like on asking us, to open our atomic energy project to inspection etc. But from the 80s the aid was sought given not for a specific project but for “budgetary support”. In this way the Lending country started having a direct voice in our economic policies. Aid as “budgetary support” brought America individually to acquire control over the government, and when we became economically and politically weak, US even started meddling with nomination of the rulers. Western powers joined hands with US to virtually form a consortium of economic powers to keep borrowing country under control. Two subsidiary partners in this economic/financial control over the borrowing countries are the I M F and the World Bank. The heads of these two institutions are from the Western world, and nominees of US. This accounts for these countries who took to the royal road of living on borrowed money in time becoming subservient to the US and economic giants. Such economic holds were used long ago on China, Ottoman Empire and Egypt of pro-Nasser days, Aid is the sweet slow poison to losing independence.
There are, however, examples of two borrowing countries who did not get hooked on to the aid poison Brazil and South Korea. Of course the rise of Asian tigers is also a case of adoption of a different attitude to dependence syndrome. If soundness of the currency of a country’s international standing then in those days Pakistan had reasonably sound economy Today Pakistan with $ 54 billion aid ( when dollar is equal to Rs 85.70) Pak currency is the weakest in Asia, If one would look at the international press, Economist, Wall Street Journal, Japanese Press, of the Sixties one would discover that Pakistan reached a high position in all developing countries under Ayub regime, if the international press knew its facts. No one knows the true standing of his country in international community than an Ambassador or diplomat. In those days I was Deputy Ambassador in Tokyo and I recall how Pakistan was wooed by the Japanese Government and business circles. Pakistanis came to Tokyo to buy cargo ships on cash payment on the spot and sailed off to Karachi. We used to register them as Pak ships under Consular conventions. This never happened again.
South Korea, got rid of its aid , and is today an Asia tiger, the other way to develop and manage country’s affairs is through Self Reliance Begging or being a Madame Bovary of international community is not self reliant . Let me remove one fallacy in this context. Self reliance is not being confrontationist in diplomacy. Self reliance is self respect, coexistence but keeping national honor. The immediate problem of helping the Displaced Persons is considerably eased by the outstanding performance of the Armed Forces, Army, Navy and Air Forces. Without them the Displaced Persons would have perished in large numbers. The Civil society came next in providing food, shelter, medical help, doctors which was a laudable patriotic act, despite our limited resources. These helps were very timely and crucial in saving lives and providing food shelter and medical help whatever was its magnitude. It proved that patriotism and human feelings are strong among Pakistanis.
But next the Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, on their own came forward to share the burden as part of the great brotherhood to which we belong. Saudi Arabia played the role of Ansars of Madina towards the Makkan muhajirs in the earliest days of Islam. But this only means that every Muslim country sent volunteers and tangible most needed help. This fraternal help is without any strings attached This is pure and simple the help of brothers to another brother. No country outside the circle of Muslim brother countries could match the Saudi or Turkish or any other Muslim country’s help. It was just help nothing else. .
It may be questioned whether we should seek “aid” from Western countries when we are already indebted to the tune of $ 54 billion .For two to three years the effects of the destruction of flood on our economy would be very serious. We should avoid making appeals for aid. It would signals that for long time Pakistan is a case of charity basket, down and out. Self Reliance is still unknown idea to our rulers The power of the awam is still anathema to our fancy suits wearing politicians.