* ‘아시아엔’ 해외필진 기고문의 한글요약본과 원문을 함께 게재합니다.
[아시아엔=나시르 아이자즈 <아시아엔> 파키스탄 지부장, 번역 김아람 기자] 미국은 몇 해 전부터 파키스탄 사람들이 갖고 있는 ‘미국의 이미지’를 제고하기 위해 교환프로그램을 시행해오고 있다. 덕분에 지금까지 다수의 파키스탄 언론인과 학생들이 미국을 방문해 선진국을 경험할 기회를 가질 수 있었다. 얼마 전엔 파키스탄 주재 미국영사관이 신드주 주민들을 위해 영사관 웹사이트에 신디어를 추가하기도 했다. 파키스탄 공용어 우르두어 서비스가 인기를 끌자, 지역언어 서비스를 추가제공하기로 결정한 것이다. 또한 미국 국제개발처(USAIS)와 신드주 교육청은 양해각서(MoU)를 체결하고 신드주 기본교육프로그램(SBEP)을 신설했다. 이 프로그램을 통해 파키스탄 남부 대도시 카라치의 5개 마을과, 신드주 내 7개 지역에 공립학교 120여개가 설립될 예정이다.
파키스탄은 지난 1947년 미국과 처음 외교관계를 수립한 후로 다방면에서의 협력을 논의해왔다. 특히 2001년 9·11 테러 이후 두 국가의 안보협력 관계는 더욱 강화됐다. 미국이 ‘테러와의 전쟁’을 선포한 이후, 파키스탄이 알카에다 조직원 6백명 이상을 검거하는 등 미국에 적극 협조했기 때문이다. 현재까지도 탈레반 등 테러조직들이 국경지대에서 근처에서 암약 중이나, 파키스탄은 미국과의 공조를 통해 테러 방지에 적극 나서고 있다.
양국의 안보협력은 경제 및 민간분야 협력 강화로 이어졌다. 미국은 파키스탄의 최대교역국 중 하나로, 약 50만의 파키스탄 노동자들이 미국에서 땀 흘리고 있다. 작년 회계연도 기준(2014년 7월~2015년 6월) 파키스탄 이주노동자가 벌어들인 수익은 180억달러(약 20조9천억원)에 달하는데, 이중 14.4% 가량은 미국에서 벌어들인 것이다. 이 기간 동안 파키스탄의 對 미국 수출량은 전체의 16%를 차지해 유럽연합(EU) 다음으로 가장 큰 규모였으며, 양국 무역량은 50억달러(약 5조8300억원)가 넘었다.
지난 2009년 10월 파키스탄 민간 지원을 위해 미국과 파키스탄이 KLB 파트너십을 맺은 이후로 민간차원의 교류도 더욱 확대돼왔다. 현재까지 미국은 파키스탄 민간부문에 총 50억달러(약 5조 8300억원)를 투자해왔으며, 특히 2010년 파키스탄 최악의 홍수가 났을 때는 구호를 위해 10억달러(약 1조1600억원)을 지원하기도 했다. 미국이 대 파키스탄 지원에 있어 중점을 두고 있는 부분은 전력난 해소, 경제성장, 지역안정화, 교육, 건강 등 총 5개 분야다. 실제로 미국은 파키스탄 전력 인프라 확충을 위해 1천6백메가와트의 추가전력을 공급했으며, 주민들의 주거난 해소를 위해 정책을 자문해줬다.
미국은 또한 파키스탄 중소기업에 초기 자본금을 지원하는 파키스탄투자협회(PPII)를 설립해 기업환경 개선에 도움을 줬고, 1천여개 학교의 수리 및 설립, 도로 건설 등 사회기반시설에도 대규모 자금을 투자해왔다. 지난 1월엔 파키스탄 구호 및 재건활동에 2억5천만달러(약 2천800억원)를 지원하기로 약속했다. 양국은 여러 분야에서 지속적인 교류를 통해 장기적인 관점의 우호관계를 유지해 나갈 전망이다.
Besides extending cooperation and granting huge funds for projects in different sectors in Pakistan, the U.S diplomats have been maintaining close liaison with educational and cultural institutions as well as the intellectual circles and holding cultural events across Pakistan.
The very purpose of such efforts is to let the people of Pakistan know more and more about United States and bringing a positive change in their outlook. For achieving this goal, the U.S had initiated Exchange Programs arranging the visit of students and media professionals to the United States several years back, which still continues, but very recently, the U.S Consulates in Pakistan have launched websites in local languages to disseminate information to the general public in their own language.
One such website was officially launched by Mr. Brian Heath, U.S Consul General in Karachi, which is the Consulate’s first-ever Sindhi language website to ensure dissemination of information in local language to the general masses of southern Sindh province. In addition, Sindhi musicians performed at the event, which was also designed to showcase Sindhi culture.
“We are very proud and excited to launch our first-ever Sindhi language web site,” said Mr. Heath. “This follows on the successful launch of Mission Pakistan’s Urdu language website a month back.” U.S. Consulate Karachi, he added, has been issuing press releases, posting on Facebook and tweeting in Sindhi for more than a year.
“Having Consulate Karachi’s website completely in Sindhi, is an important step in helping us reach out to the 60 million Sindhi speakers in both Pakistan and overseas. Now, they will be able to read about the Consulate’s activities and assistance efforts in one of Pakistan’s oldest and most important languages.” The Consulate, he said, wants Americans and Pakistanis to “get to know each other better.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Sindh Education and Literacy Department also signed memorandums of understanding (MoU) with Engro Corporation to improve education in Sindh.
“The Sindh government and our corporate partners have shown great leadership in implementing U.S. funded education projects,” said U.S. Consul General Brian Heath. “The collaboration will go a long way toward making education more accessible to children in Sindh.”
USAID Pakistan is helping the Sindh Education and Literacy Department implement the USAID Sindh Basic Education Program (SBEP). This includes constructing 120 large public schools in seven districts of the province, and five towns in Karachi. Under the tripartite agreement, Engro under its “I am the Change” initiative will help generate funding for SBEP schools.
“This is exactly the kind of cooperation that we need from stakeholders in all areas ? government, private sector, and civil society,” said USAID Mission Director to Pakistan, John Groarke.
A two-member delegation consisting of Lieutenant Adeel Rana and Detective Elvis Vukelj of the New York Police Department also visited Karachi, the capital of Sindh province and provided safety tips to 50 girl students at an Access English-language Micro-scholarship program in Karachi.
“Giving citizens the tools they need to stay safe is a key element of community policing,” said Vukelj. “It is an especially important skill for young people.”
The Access Micro-scholarship program is about more than just English grammar and language skills, said Cultural Attach? Griffin Rozell. “We want to share American culture and pass along valuable life skills as part of the program’s enrichment activities,” he said.
According to Rozell, the New York Police Department is an American icon. “We wanted to give our Access students the chance to interact with these officers, while learning practical skills,” he said.
The United States, having diplomatic relations with Pakistan since its creation in 1947, continues enhancing its cooperation to this South Asian nation in different fields such as energy, economics, counterterrorism, defense, strategic stability and education, especially after 9/11 tragic incident that took place one and half a decade back.
Pakistan, in fact, had been extending its full cooperation to the United States in the War on Terror since September 11, 2001, attacks in the USA by Al-Qaida resulting in closer coordination between them on security and stability in South Asia.
“Pakistan has generally cooperated with the United States in counterterrorism efforts and since 2001, has captured more than 600 al-Qaida members and their allies, and the United States maintains a strong security partnership with Pakistan,” the US authorities admitted in a Fact Sheet released recently.
According to Fact Sheet the United States is Pakistan’s largest bilateral trading partner. In FY 2015 (July 2014 – June 2015) $18.72 billion was remitted back to Pakistan by overseas workers, 14.4% from the U.S. It is estimated that at least 500,000 members of the Pakistani Diaspora reside in the United States. In FY 2015, the United States accounted for approximately 16% of Pakistan’s exports, the second largest market behind the European Union, and $1.20 billion of its imports. Bilateral trade between the United States and Pakistan exceeded $5.1 billion in FY 2015. The United States is also one of the top sources of foreign direct investment to Pakistan, with $209 million in FY 2015. Pakistan has taken steps over the years to liberalize its trade and investment regimes, either unilaterally or in the context of commitments made with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank.
U.S Civilian Assistance to Pakistan
In May 2014, following Prime Minister Sharif’s visit to Washington, the U.S. and Pakistan established a Joint Action Plan to expand bilateral trade and investment over five years. In March 2015 the United States and Pakistan organized the third U.S.-Pakistan business opportunities conference, headlined by Secretary of Commerce Penny Priztker and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in Islamabad.
Major U.S. investments are concentrated in fast-moving consumer goods, construction, chemicals, energy, transportation, and communications.
After the passage of Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, often referred to as “Kerry-Lugar-Berman,” or “KLB,” in October 2009 to demonstrate the U.S. long-term commitment to cooperation with the Pakistani people and their civilian institutions, the U.S. government has committed over $5 billion in civilian assistance to Pakistan, and also over $1 billion in emergency humanitarian assistance for disasters like the 2010 floods.
U.S. civilian assistance to Pakistan facilitates cooperation fostering a more stable, democratic, and prosperous Pakistan and region, which is in the interest of both countries. It is focused on five priority areas: energy; economic growth, including agriculture; community stabilization of underdeveloped areas vulnerable to violent extremism; education; and health. These priorities were determined in consultation with the government of Pakistan. The U.S. implements programs with Pakistani partners, including the government of Pakistan, civil society, and private sector actors, to increase local capacity and promote sustainability of efforts. To date, U.S. contributions have added over 1,600 megawatts to Pakistan’s electricity grid through infrastructure upgrades, rehabilitation, and policy consultation; led to the launch of the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative (PPII), which will provide seed funding to small- and medium-sized enterprises in Pakistan; built or reconstructed roughly 1,000 schools; and funded about 1,100 kilometers of roads in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.
In January 2015 the U.S. pledged $250 million to help Pakistan facilitate the relief, reconstruction, and return of FATA communities displaced by counterterrorism operations.
U.S Security Assistance to Pakistan
U.S. security assistance to Pakistan is focused on strengthening the counterterrorism (CT) and counterinsurgency (COIN) capabilities of the Pakistan security forces, and promoting closer security ties and interoperability with the United States. U.S. security assistance has directly supported Pakistan’s CT operations in the FATA. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) ($265 million in FY 2015) promotes the development of Pakistan’s long-term COIN/CT capabilities, particularly in FATA, and improves Pakistan’s ability to participate in maritime security operations and counter-maritime piracy. International Military Education and Training (IMET) assistance to Pakistan ($5 million in FY 2015) enhances the professionalism of Pakistan’s military and strengthens long-term military relationships between Pakistan and the United States.