US Bill links Pak aid to terror war cooperation
Washington: A Congressional Committee in its budgetary proposals for the year 2013 has prohibited economic and security assistance to Pakistan till it co-operates with the US in the fight against terrorism and takes action against groups like Haqqani Network, Taliban, al Qaeda, LeT and JeM.
"The legislation prohibits economic and security assistance unless the Government of Pakistan is cooperating with the US on counter-terrorism efforts and other issues," the House Appropriations Committee said in a statement as it released the 2013 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill.
The bill totals USD 40.1 billion in regular discretionary funding, which is USD 2 billion or 5 per cent below last year`s level. The bill running into 208 pages will be considered by a Congressional sub-committee later on Wednesday.
Among other things, the bill includes USD 8.2 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terror funding, which will adequately provide for continued US involvement in front-line countries and other war-related efforts.
In total, including war funding, the bill is USD 5 billion or 9 per cent below fiscal year 2012, the House Committee said in a statement.
"It is more important than ever that taxpayer dollars be used in the most efficient, frugal, and common-sense way to balance our international responsibilities with the very real economic and financial challenges we face here at home. This bill meets our commitment to providing essential security, diplomatic, and humanitarian assistance abroad, while reducing funding for lower-priority programs and providing a keen eye towards the oversight of every tax dollar," Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said in a statement.
The legislation also withholds operating funds until a transition plan is submitted and withholds assistance until certifications that proper security is in place for civilian aid workers can be made.
According to the bill, none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act to Pakistan may be made available unless the Secretary of State certifies that Pakistan is cooperating with US on counter-terrorism efforts against the Haqqani Network, the Taliban, Lashkar e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, al Qaeda and other terror groups, including taking steps to end support for such groups and prevent them from basing and operating in Pakistan and carrying out cross border attacks into neighbouring countries.
Other conditions include Pakistan taking strong action against IEDs, which is said to be responsible for most American casualties in Afghanistan.
The bill also seeks a set of benchmarks for Pakistan from the government and if these benchmarks are not met, the US aid to Pakistan would be suspended.
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