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CRS: Pakistan: U.S. Foreign Aid Conditions, Restrictions, and Reporting Requirements

January 5, 2012


This Congressional Research Report provides a comprehensive list of existing laws and pending legislation containing conditions, limitations, and reporting requirements for U.S. foreign assistance to Pakistan.

The 112th Congress continues to debate levels of U.S. assistance to Pakistan in light of signs that Pakistan may not be a fully willing and effective U.S. partner, and that official Pakistani elements continue to support Afghan insurgent forces. During a period of economic and budget crises in the United States, Obama Administration officials and some senior Members of Congress have voiced concerns about the efficacy of continuing the flow of billions of U.S. aid dollars into Pakistan, with some in Congress urging more stringent conditions on, or even curtailment of, such aid. At issue is whether Pakistan's civilian government and security services are using the aid as intended domestically while actively supporting U.S. efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and combat regional insurgent and terrorist elements. Existing aid restrictions and the certification process required for greater accountability on the part of Pakistan are thus under scrutiny.

A number of current laws restrict or place conditions on certain aid to Pakistan, such as Economic Support Funds and the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund (PCF). Others require the President, the Secretary of Defense, or the Secretary of State to certify that Pakistan meets specific criteria to receive U.S. aid. Examples include that the implementing agency is qualified to manage the funds; that the Pakistani government has agreed to clear, achievable goals; that it is meeting human rights criteria; and that the country is making progress in achieving U.S. aid objectives, and is cooperating with the United States in combating terrorist networks and securing its nuclear weapons. In addition, reporting requirements include a quarterly report on the specific uses of PCF; an annual report on Pakistan's cooperation regarding efforts to dismantle nuclear weaponsrelated supplier networks and combat terrorist groups; a report to explain certification of U.S. aid to Pakistan; and an annual report from the President confirming that providing aid to Pakistan is in the U.S. national interest and that Pakistan has made substantial efforts to adhere to international counternarcotics agreements. Waivers in current law exist: one allows aid restrictions to be waived for human health and welfare risks; three authorize waiving aid restrictions if the President determines that it is in U.S. national security interests to do so.

The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 (H.R. 1540), signed into law (P.L. 112-81) on December 31, 2011, includes provisions to withhold 60% of any FY2012 appropriations for PCF unless the Secretary of Defense reports to Congress a strategy for the use of such funds and the metrics for determining their effectiveness, and a strategy to enhance Pakistani efforts to counter improvised explosive devices. The State-Foreign Operations Appropriations law (Division I of P.L. 112-74), signed on December 23, 201l, requires other certifications.

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