The United States and Pakistan: Strong and Enduring Cooperation
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Pakistan Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, accompanied by a high-level delegation, met in Islamabad on January 13, 2015, for the Ministerial meeting of the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue. Their visit underscored the long-term cooperation between the United States and Pakistan and highlighted the following areas of ongoing activity:
Fostering Mutual Prosperity
KLB Cooperation: U.S. civilian assistance to Pakistan has delivered real results on the issues most important to all Pakistanis: energy, education, economic growth, and health. Since enactment of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 (commonly referred to as “Kerry-Lugar-Berman” or “KLB”), the United States has committed $5 billion in civilian assistance to Pakistan, in addition to contributing over $1 billion in emergency humanitarian response for disasters and conflict, including the 2010 floods. KLB was premised on the strong support of the United States for building ties with the people and government of Pakistan to support the strengthening of civilian-led, democratic institutions founded in the rule of law. We continue to see the results of these efforts in a range of areas.
Energy: The United States and Pakistan have a strong partnership in the energy sector, recognizing the central role a stable supply of energy plays in accelerating Pakistan’s economic growth. To date, U.S. assistance has added more than 1,400 megawatts to Pakistan’s national grid—enough electricity for roughly 16 million Pakistanis. U.S. assistance has funded the construction and rehabilitation of Gomal Zam Dam, Satpara Dam, Mangla Dam, Kaitu Weir, and Tarbela Dam and the modernization of Guddu, Jamshoro, and Muzaffargarh power plants. In addition, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is facilitating private sector investment in a number of wind projects in Pakistan to provide up to 250 megawatts of clean, renewable, grid-connected power. The United States is helping Pakistan to promote the efficient use of energy resources, foster development of Pakistan’s natural gas, increase utilization of hydroelectric and renewable resources, and continue reforms to the energy sector to ensure its financial sustainability, including rationalizing pricing and attracting private sector investment. Smart meters installed by USAID and other initiatives have helped Pakistan manage the efficiency and availability of power, and improvements to Pakistan’s nine power distribution companies have resulted in revenue increases of over $200 million to date. In October 2014, the United States government and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce co-hosted the U.S.-Pakistan Diamer Basha Dam Project Business Opportunities Meeting to introduce the project to the private sector. A U.S. company is facilitating Pakistan’s construction of Pakistan’s first LNG import terminal.
Bilateral Trade and Investment: Trade between the United States and Pakistan was valued at more than $5 billion in 2013, and the United States is Pakistan’s largest export market and a significant source of foreign direct investment. The U.S. and Pakistan finalized a Joint Action Plan to expand trade and investment over five years at the May 2014 Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council talks. Both countries organized an October 2014 trade delegation visit to Silicon Valley for Pakistani companies to forge relationships with top companies in the U.S. information technology industry. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture certified three new facilities that will help enable the commercially successful import of Pakistani mangoes to the United States. In March 2015, Pakistan will host a U.S.-Pakistan Economic Partnership Week, including the third U.S.-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference, to help Pakistani and American companies and investors identify new business opportunities together.
Regional Trade: The United States strongly supports Pakistan’s focus on expanding regional trade. The United States has funded the construction and rehabilitation of approximately 1,000 kilometers of roads, including the four major trade routes between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The United States welcomes Afghanistan and Pakistan’s agreement over transit pricing for the Central Asia South Asia electricity transmission project known as CASA-1000, and will provide funding to support the project. In April 2014, the U.S. funded a Pakistan-hosted Central Asian Business Opportunities Conference (CABOC) which drew over 480 public and private sector participants to foster regional trade and investment.
Private Sector Financing for Business Creation: Recognizing small-and-medium businesses as critical catalysts of Pakistan’s growth, the United States launched the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative (PPII) in June 2013, matching U.S. funding one-to-one with private equity capital to make over $150 million available for small businesses in Pakistan. USAID is also launching four new partnerships with private sector banks in Pakistan to improve access to finance for small businesses.
Entrepreneurship: The United States’ “Khushali Ka Safar” (Journey to Prosperity) programs works with entrepreneurs to boost their chances of success, facilitating access to capital, mentorship, education, and Diaspora engagement and investment.
Agriculture: Pakistan’s agriculture sector employs more than 40 percent of the workforce and is a key driver of the country’s economic growth. The United States is helping to boost Pakistan’s agricultural productivity by increasing irrigation and introducing improved technologies and water management practices. The United States has financed irrigation projects for more than 630,000 acres of farmland in Pakistan, with a goal of reaching one million irrigated acres by 2016. The United States also helps Pakistani agribusinesses access financing, form partnerships, and tap into more lucrative markets, with the goal of linking thousands of local producers nationwide to major commercial firms by the end of 2016. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working with Pakistan to vaccinate more than 500,000 cattle, buffalo, and yaks; implement livestock disease surveillance systems; and develop a strain of cotton resistant to the cotton leaf curl virus, which could devastate crops in Pakistan and globally if not addressed.
Science and Technology Cooperation: The United States and Pakistan will launch the Education, Science, and Technology Working Group under the Strategic Dialogue in 2015. Through the U.S.-Pakistan Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement, first signed in 2003, the United States and Pakistan have co-financed over 83 different research projects between U.S. and Pakistani researchers, worth approximately $30 million, in sectors such as health, agriculture, engineering, environment, energy, and water.
Women’s Economic Advancement: The full participation of women in any society is essential to sustainable economic growth. In 2012, the U.S. government and American University, together with the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America, launched the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council to promote economic advancement for Pakistani women. The council brings together public and private sector partners to facilitate employment, entrepreneurship, and business education opportunities. In May 2014, the United States and Pakistan signed an MOU on Joint Efforts to Empower Women and Promote Women’s Entrepreneurship to expand the participation of women in Pakistan’s economy. The United States is also funding a Women’s Entrepreneurial Center in Islamabad in cooperation with local Pakistani partners. This entrepreneurial center, which will launch in early 2015, is the first in a series of such centers worldwide focused on providing a safe, stable environment for women to gain access to vital economically empowering resources. U.S.-sponsored assistance programs raise public awareness of key priorities for women and girls such as addressing and preventing gender-based violence; ensuring women’s political participation; promoting women’s entrepreneurship; supporting women’s and girls’ access to quality health and education services; and facilitating women’s participation in civil society, including efforts to promote peace and tolerance.
Basic Education: The United States and Pakistan place a priority on ensuring that Pakistan has an educated population that is prepared to enter the workforce. As part of a U.S.-Pakistan basic education partnership, USAID launched the Pakistan Reading Program, aimed at improving the reading skills of over one million Pakistani children. U.S. support has built or reconstructed more than 900 schools, benefitting over 350,000 children. Since 2002, the United States and Pakistan have partnered to improve teacher education in Pakistan, developing four-year and two-year degree programs specifically for education professionals, now offered in nearly 100 teacher training institutions nationwide. The United States is funding the construction of 16 modern faculties of education throughout the country. The United States also has provided English language training to 9,400 Pakistani underprivileged teenagers, countrywide.
Health Services: To help Pakistan expand its healthcare services, the United States financed a new gynecology ward at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center in Karachi, training 1,300 health care professionals and providing high-quality care to over 140,000 women annually. The United States just completed construction on a new public hospital in Jacobabad. Such infrastructure improvement complements a five-year integrated maternal and child health program to reduce morbidity and mortality for over eight million people.
Support for Temporarily Displaced Persons from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA): To bolster the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to respond to the needs of, return, and rehabilitate over 700,000 temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) from FATA, the United States will provide approximately $250 million in emergency food aid, shelter, health, education, transport, livelihoods, and livestock support, and will continue discussions as needs emerge. The United States will continue to partner with Pakistan to reconstruct schools, hospitals, water supply systems, roads, and bridges in FATA to restore a sense of normalcy and assist in the return of TDPs to their home communities.
Advancing Security and Counterterrorism Cooperation
Defense and Counterterrorism Cooperation: The United States and Pakistan enjoy a positive security partnership and are working jointly to address security threats to each of our nations and the region. The United States stands with Pakistan in the face of virulent threats to its domestic security and will support its efforts to bring to justice those responsible for the December 16 massacre at the Peshawar Army Public School. Operation Zarb-e-Azb is an important step in Pakistan's counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts in FATA. Through U.S. security assistance programs, the United States provides critical equipment to Pakistani military troops conducting operations along the Afghan border and to enhance Pakistan’s participation in international maritime security operations. Through this cooperation Pakistan has significantly increased the effectiveness of its operations against militant groups. The United States will support Pakistan’s efforts to address all forms of militant extremism, including those that threaten regional stability, such as al-Qaida, the Pakistani Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.
Military Training and Exchanges: U.S.-Pakistan military-military training programs strengthen professional relationships and cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistan militaries. Since 2009, the United States has trained nearly 1,120 members of the Pakistan Army, Air Force, and Navy. Pakistan is the largest recipient of U.S. International Military Education and Training (IMET) funding in the world. In addition, the United States and Pakistan conduct military staff exchanges and joint training exercises each year to enhance coordination and interoperability between our militaries.
Improvised Explosive Devices: In partnership with the United States, Pakistan has taken positive steps over the past two years to increase its controls and interdiction of the illicit supply of the materials used to produce improvised explosive devices (IEDs). IEDs are a shared threat to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the region. Through U.S. security assistance programs coordinated by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), the United States provides Pakistan with technical expertise and equipment to improve its ability to detect and defuse these devices.
Coalition Support Funds: Pakistan is an important partner in the fight against violent extremism. The U.S. government supports Pakistan’s counterterrorism operations that weaken terrorist networks, improve border stability, and advance the goals of Operation Enduring Freedom through Coalition Support Funds, which allow for reimbursement of jointly agreed-upon costs incurred by Pakistan in this fight.
Civilian Law Enforcement and Rule of Law: Through training, equipment, and infrastructure assistance, the United States supports Pakistan’s efforts to enhance civilian law enforcement and justice institutions’ response to violent crime and terrorism. U.S. support also facilitates Pakistan’s efforts to reduce the cultivation and transport of illegal narcotics within and across their borders. Over the past 12 years, the United States and Pakistan have collaborated to train over 15,000 Pakistani police officers, and the United States has donated over 500 vehicles, and provided life-saving bomb disposal equipment, armored personnel carriers, and more than 9,000 bulletproof vests.
Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation: Pakistan is engaged with the international community on nuclear safety and security issues and is working to ensure its strategic export controls are in line with international standards. Pakistan is a state party to both the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention and is a partner in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. Pakistan is an active participant in the Nuclear Security Summit process and works closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Office of Nuclear Security to promote best security practices, including through hosting IAEA training activities at its Nuclear Security Center of Excellence. Through our joint Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation Dialogue, we have shared views on nonproliferation challenges, as well as on the multilateral regimes on chemical and biological weapons, export controls, and the importance of regional stability and security.
Furthering People-to-People Ties
Higher Education Collaboration and the Fulbright Program: The United States enjoys strong people-to-people programs with Pakistan, particularly in higher education. The U.S. exchange program alumni network in Pakistan now numbers over 14,000, and each year more than 1,300 Pakistani exchange participants come to the United States – fostering concrete collaboration and understanding on both sides. Nearly 5,000 Pakistanis studied on U.S. college and university campuses during the 2013-2014 academic year. Since 2009, the United States has also provided scholarships to more than 12,000 talented, but financially deserving Pakistani students to study at universities within Pakistan. The United States is also investing more in the Fulbright program in Pakistan than anywhere else in the world. Since its inception in 1950, the Fulbright Program has supported over 3,000 Pakistanis and over 800 Americans to study and conduct research.
University Partnerships: The United States and Pakistan benefit from 17 U.S.-Pakistan university partnerships that improve the professional development of faculty, advance curriculum reform and joint research, and develop peer-to-peer relationships. The United States is supporting the establishment of four Centers for Advanced Studies in agriculture and food security, water management, and energy, which will pair U.S. and Pakistani universities to promote cutting edge research in sectors key to a strong economy. In early 2015, we will launch such a partnership in the energy sector between the National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad, University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar, and Arizona State University.
Diaspora Linkages: The over 500,000 Pakistani-Americans residing in the United States create vibrant community, business, academic, and philanthropic linkages between the United States and Pakistan.