US lawmaker denounces hostility towards military aid to Pak

Last Updated: Thursday, October 8, 2009 - 09:21

Washington: Denouncing Pakistan`s hostility towards American military assistance, a powerful US lawmaker on Wednesday said Islamabad should know that the aid is not a gift but being given to them for a specific purpose.

"If Pakistan doesn`t want us as a partner, that`s up to them. But should they take such a decision, they should do so knowing full well that our military assistance, advanced technology and intelligence cooperation are not gifts, but the specific consequences of our cooperation," said Congressman Gary Ackerman.

Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, Ackerman said Pakistan should be aware that these things are not reserved for them and that US interests in South Asia are not limited to just Pakistan.

"We don`t sell F-16s and Harpoon missiles to just anyone," he said, responding to the news reports from Pakistan that the Pakistani Army is averse to the conditions being imposed in lieu of the military aid.

"If the people of Pakistan really don`t want our assistance; if they don`t want to be our partner in establishing a truly secure and harmonious region; if, after so much effort and sacrifice by our two countries working together, they still don`t even believe that we wish them well -- and, worse, are prepared to say so only days after the United States Congress made an unprecedented commitment of long-term assistance -— then I suppose we need to face the truth sooner than later," Ackerman said.

Expressing concern over the recent debate in Pakistan regarding the legislation recently passed by the US Congress to strengthen its partnership with Pakistan and to aid that country with some of its most pressing domestic and security concerns, Ackerman said the United States can not build its partnership by ourselves.

"As I said during debate on the legislation in the House of Representatives, I am sceptical about whether this assistance bill truly represents a meeting of the minds between ourselves and the people and the government of Pakistan," he observed.

"Frankly, I doubt that our money can buy us much good will. Nevertheless, recognising the vital US interests at stake in South Asia in the fight against extremism and terrorism, I felt the Kerry-Lugar bill, for all its flaws, was absolutely necessary," Ackerman said.

"But I have no interest in partnership which exists just in name, or is mostly characterised by suspicion, resentment and political manipulation. In the end, Pakistan, like ourselves, will have to make some hard choices about where their interests really lie," he added.

Bureau Report



First Published: Thursday, October 8, 2009 - 09:21

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