Washington: Taking on board India's
concerns, the US Congress today cleared a bill that sets out
tough conditions on the USD 2.3 billion military assistance to
Pakistan to make sure that these funds are not squandered or
diverted to affect the "balance of power in the region".
The military assistance is to be given in one year and
is in addition to the USD 1.5 billion non-military aid being
given to Pakistan per annum for the next five years as
approved by the Kerry-Lugar Bill, which was signed into law by
US President Barack Obama early this month.
"We can't lose sight of the very reason Pakistan
receives these funds: they are a reimbursement for expenses
incurred fighting terrorists and supporting US-led efforts to
do the same," Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat, said.
"That fight is important to our own national security,
and we have to ensure that our support for it is not being
squandered or diverted. It is not only right for us to ensure
that American taxpayer money does what it is intended to do,
it is our duty as stewards of the national security and of
taxpayer money," he said.
The USD 2.3 billion aid to Pakistan is part of USD 680
billion 2010 Defense Authorisation Bill, which was passed by
the Senate yesterday and the House of Representatives early
The bill now goes to Obama to sign it into law.
First Published: Friday, October 23, 2009, 23:13