Atlantic Council Release Report on U.S.-Pakistan Relations

Senators John Kerry and Chuck Hagel highlight urgent need for action

Washington, D.C. – Pakistan faces dire economic and security threats that threaten both the existence of Pakistan as a democratic and stable state and the region as a whole. Given the tools and the financing, Pakistan can turn back from the brink. But for that to happen, it needs help now.

With these words the Atlantic Council’s Task Force on Pakistan highlights the important role that the United States and its European allies can play in averting an economic and political disaster in a nuclear-armed country, living in one of the world’s toughest neighborhoods.

The Report, released on February 25, 2009, under Co-Chairs Senators John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, calls for an additional $4-5 billion dollars of immediate financial aid for Pakistan to avert an economic meltdown and suggests that Pakistan has the ability to alter its destiny, given this support. If the US and its Atlantic partners do not provide Pakistan with this assistance, the country may be placed on a downward trajectory whose consequences will be dire.

Suggesting the need for a comprehensive and longer-term US policy towards Pakistan and its people, the Report examines in detail political, security, and economic conditions in Pakistan and its relations with its neighbors. “What we’ve tried to do is provide a road map for how we can help Pakistan stop its downward spiral and become a source for regional stability,” said Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe.

Report Co-Chairman Senator Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has long viewed Pakistan as a country meriting far greater attention from Washington. “The overwhelming majority of Pakistanis want to live in a moderate, democratic, economically vibrant nation, at peace with its neighbors. Achieving this goal is in the interest of Pakistan, of the United States, and of the region. If we fail, we face a truly frightening prospect: terrorist sanctuary, economic meltdown, and spiraling radicalism, all in a nation with 170 million inhabitants and a full arsenal of nuclear weapons. Averting this outcome will require bold action, which is why Sen. Lugar and I will soon introduce our Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan legislation – a measure which would implement many of the Atlantic Council’s recommendations. The stakes could not be higher, and the Atlantic Council’s report could not be more timely.”

As new Atlantic Council Chairman Chuck Hagel put it: “There is not a more critically important part of the world for America’s interests than South Asia. Nuclear powers, ethnic and religious forces, radicalism, terrorism and vital relationships all converge in this part of the world.  I believe this report by the Atlantic Council will assist the Obama Administration as it develops and implements a comprehensive and strategic policy toward Pakistan and this combustible corner of the world.”

The report will be released on Capitol Hill at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Room, on Wednesday, February 25, at 11:30 AM.

The South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council was launched in January 2009 and aims to become a central forum for discussion of key issues facing the region and for practicable advice to policymakers there and in partner nations around the world. For more information, please visit: /tags/south-asia.

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The 27-page report is posted on the Atlantic Council Web Site at /publication/pakistan-report and is available in hard copy by writing to Shuja Nawaz, Director, South Asia Center at [email protected] or Jeff Lightfoot at [email protected].