Washington: Republican presidential
candidates have criticised Pakistan, calling it one of the most violent and unstable nations but remained sharply divided
over whether the US should continue to provide aid to
While Texas Governor vowed to cut down US aid to Pakistan
to zero till it helped US meet its national security interests
against terrorists, two other Republican candidates Jon
Huntsman and Newt Gingrich argued in favour of more drone
attacks against terrorists inside Pakistan.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, however, argued in favour
of continued engagement with Pakistan given that it was a
nuclear weapon state.
"Pakistan is a concern. That`s the country that ought to
keep everybody up at night. You have not (Pak) President (Asif
Ali) Zardari in charge but (its Army Chief) General (Ashfaq
Pervez) Kayani, over the military, which also is responsible
for the ISI.
"You`ve got the youngest demographic of 160 million people
in Pakistan. You`ve got a madrassa movement," Huntsman
"You`ve got over 100 nuclear weapons. You`ve got trouble
on the border. You`ve got a nation-state that is a candidate
for failure. I say it`s a haven for bad behaviour, it`s a
haven for training the people who seek to do us harm,"
Huntsman said adding that he was in favour of expanding drone
program which would serve US national interests.
Acknowledging that Pakistan has been "the epicentre of
dealing with terrorism" Congresswoman Bachmann said that the
country has training centres for terrorist outfits.
"They also are one of the most violent, unstable nations
that there is," she said.
A member of the Intelligence Committee in the House of
Representatives, she said 15 of the nuclear sites in Pakistan
are available or are potentially penetrable by jihadists.
"Six attempts have already been made on nuclear sites.
This is more than an existential threat," Bachmann said.