Pak slams move to freeze USD 700 mn aid from US

Last Updated: Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 21:31

Islamabad: An angry Pakistan on Thursday slammed a
a US move to freeze aid worth USD 700 million, saying it was
"not based on facts and takes a narrow vision of the overall
situation", in the latest sign of the fraying bilateral ties.

"We believe that the move in the US Congress is not based
on facts and takes a narrow vision of the overall situation,"
said Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit.

In response to questions at a weekly news briefing, he
said that "wrong conclusions are unavoidable" because of the
approach adopted by the US.

The US House of Representatives yesterday passed
legislation to freeze aid worth USD 700 million and the Senate
is expected to vote on the measure this week.

The bill will freeze the aid pending assurances that
Pakistan has taken steps to thwart militants who use
improvised explosive devices against US-led forces in
Afghanistan.

If the legislation becomes law, the US will work with the
Pakistan government to see how it can fulfil the requirements,
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

Pakistan shut down NATO supply routes to neighbouring
Afghanistan and forced US personnel to leave Shamsi air base,
reportedly used by CIA-operated drones, after a NATO air
strike killed 24 soldiers on November 26.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has ordered the
framing of "new terms of engagement" for the US, NATO and
ISAF.

Basit said an envoys` conference held during December
12-13 to frame recommendations for the new terms of engagement
had discussed the possible impact of cutting off of US and
foreign aid.

Pakistan Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh gave a
briefing to the conference on the economic aspect of the
current situation, Basit said.

"We are very much cognizant of this aspect as foreign
policy cannot be developed without taking into consideration
the economic realities but Pakistan`s sovereignty is
non-negotiable," he said.

Basit contended that US and foreign forces in Afghanistan
were not doing enough to control militancy.

Pakistan had deployed 160,000 troops and set up over 900
check posts along the Afghan border but the "real question is
what is being done on the Afghan side of the border", he said.

"Pakistan cannot be held responsible for the weaknesses
and loopholes on the other side of the border.

For the policy of hammer and anvil to be effective,
necessary measures need to be taken on the Afghan side," he
said.

A proposed joint session of Pakistan`s parliament will
debate recommendations made by the envoys and the
Parliamentary Committee on National Security to decide the new
terms of engagement for the US and NATO, officials said.

Basit said Pakistan is moving forward with the review of
bilateral ties irrespective of whether the US provides an
apology for the NATO air strike.

"We are getting into more concrete areas like reviewing
our terms of engagement which are more important than any
verbal apology," he said.

He further said there had been no US drone strikes since
the NATO attack on Pakistan military posts on November 26.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 21:31

comments powered by Disqus