It`s time to break with Pakistan: US lawmaker
Washington: Arguing that it is time to stop expedited supply of sophisticated US weaponry to Pakistan, a top lawmaker has introduced a bill in Congress seeking removal of "treacherous" Islamabad`s major non-NATO ally status.
"It`s time to break with Pakistan, but at the very least, we should stop providing them the eligibility to obtain our own sophisticated weaponry in an expedited process. Too many of our own men and women have died because of Islamabad`s treachery," Texas Congressman Ted Poe said after introducing HR 6391, the bill seeking removal of the major non-NATO ally (MNNA) status of Pakistan.
In 2004, the then-President George W Bush had granted Pakistan MNNA status in an effort to get its help to fight al-Qaeda and Taliban.
MNNA status is significant, granting critical benefits in the areas of foreign aid and defence cooperation.
An MNNA country is eligible for priority delivery of defence material, an expedited arms sale process and a US loan guarantee programme, which backs up loans issued by private banks to finance arms exports.
It can also stockpile US military hardware, participate in defence research and development programmes, and be sold more sophisticated weaponry, said a statement issued by the office of the Republican Congressman.
Congressman Poe said eight years after its designation, the evidence shows that Pakistan has in fact been no ally of the US.
"It has cut off the supply route to our troops in Afghanistan, refusing to re-open it without the US apologising and paying three times as much as before. It harbours and cooperates with the Taliban who kill American troops," he said.
"The US embassy in Kabul... Was twice attacked by what US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker described as `Pakistan-based insurgents`. Last fall, then Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen called the terrorist Haqqani network in Pakistan`s tribal regions, the suspect behind the embassy attack, a `veritable arm` of Pakistan`s intelligence service," Poe said.
Most recently, Islamabad arrested and convicted the "heroic" doctor who, according to Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, gave intelligence that was very helpful in identifying the exact location of Osama bin Laden, he said.
"Pakistan is the Benedict Arnold (a traitor in American revolution) nation in the list of countries that we call allies. It`s time to remove a designation that brings privileges it does not deserve," said Poe, a member of the House of Representatives` Foreign Affairs Committee and the Anti-Terrorism Caucus.
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