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Page last updated at 09:55 GMT, Thursday, 27 August 2009 10:55 UK

Pakistan concern over aid from US

Shaukat Tarin (file image)
Shaukat Tarin says aid should be delivered direct to Pakistani agencies

US financial aid to Pakistan is "unacceptable" if it is linked to monitoring of its nuclear arsenal, Pakistan's finance minister has said.

In an interview with the Financial Times newspaper, Shaukat Tarin also said half of the aid pledged is likely to be wasted in administrative costs.

He urged the US to channel its aid through Pakistani agencies.

His comments come as Pakistan's National Finance Commission is set to meet to discuss spending plans.

The distribution of money to the provinces, such as the troubled North West Frontier Province (NWFP), is said to be high on the agenda.

The US is one of Pakistan's largest donors. In June the Obama administration asked the US Congress to release an extra $200m to help displaced people in northwest Pakistan.

But Mr Tarin emphasised that Pakistan would resist any attempts to link aid with Pakistan's nuclear programme or to its relationship with India.

There has been no mention of monitoring of Pakistan's nuclear facilities as a condition for aid to Pakistan, correspondents say.

But concern over the security of Pakistan's nuclear facilities has grown as militants have extended their control in the country in recent months.

Mr Tarin also said that a large proportion of aid gets swallowed up by intermediary costs incurred by US agencies in Pakistan.

"Whatever aid [the US is] giving must have full impact on the ground which is why they should route as much of this aid through our agencies [rather] than their own agencies," he told the Financial Times.

Swat disquiet

At an international donors meeting in Turkey earlier this week, Pakistan urged donor countries to release billions of dollars in promised aid to help the country rebuild after an army offensive against the Taliban.

Body of suspected militant found in Mingora  - 21 Aug 2009
Corpses of suspected militants have begun appearing in the Swat valley

Donors pledged more than $5bn in April but only a fraction of that has been released so far.

Much of the aid is expected to be directed towards reconstruction across Pakistan's NWFP. Two million people were displaced from the Swat valley when the military took on Taliban militants based in the area.

Many of those started returning home in July after the army said it had largely secured the valley.

But reports of violence there have not abated. Dozens of corpses - many thought to be suspected militants - have been found in the region in recent weeks.

Local residents say that Pakistani security forces have been carrying out extra-judicial killings as part of their offensive against the Taliban. But the army and police deny the accusations.



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