Corridors of Power: Afpak Conferences, Slumdog Controversy, and More

Corridors of Power: Afpak Conferences, Slumdog Controversy, and More

MORE MONEY FOR PAKISTAN -- There was good news for Pakistan and bad news for India from Washington this week. Pakistan, which has done a poor job of suppressing Taliban and al-Qaida incursions into Afghanistan at a cost of American and NATO lives, is likely to have an extra $5 billion of the U.S. taxpayers' money lavished on it in extra aid. This one-time grant would be in addition to the $1.5 billion annual package over ten years now awaiting passage through congress.

Meanwhile, the Indian media has interpreted a statement in President Obama's first address to Congress on Tuesday as a decision to cut the tax benefit for U.S. corporations that outsource jobs to India. In his speech, Obama didn't mention India, and the president's economic team has so far not expanded on his remarks. But when the president said, "We will restore a sense of balance in our tax code by finally ending tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas," the distressed Indians drew their own conclusions.

The extra aid for Pakistan was on the agenda when Pakistani army chief Pervez Ashraf Kiyani plus the head of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Shuja Pasha, and Pakistani's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quareshi met top Obama administration officials in Washington this week for a strategic review of bilateral relations. The extra infusion of U.S dollars -- which knowledgeable American sources say should have no trouble receiving congressional approval because it is backed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- would go to the economic and social sectors in the strife torn frontier region, with about an extra $1 billion for the Pakistani security forces.

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