US lawmakers questions US aid to Pakistan

Last Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 00:37

Washington: US lawmakers on Wednesday questioned
the Obama Administration`s move to give billions in dollars in
aid to Pakistan and said Islamabad continues to build on its
nuclear stockpile and support the Taliban.

"We borrow from China; give to Pakistan; Pakistan
creates nuclear weapons?," bluntly asked Congressman Dan
Rohrabacher as he posed questions to the Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton on US aid to Pakistan.

Instead one of its diplomat is under arrest in
violation of the Vienna Convention, the lawmakers bluntly told
Clinton at a Congressional hearing.

"Pakistan must do more to meet the pressing United
States concerns, including the release of Raymond Davis, our
detained American diplomat, and shifting its approach to
Afghanistan away from armed proxies and toward constructive
and legitimate political partners," Congresswoman, Ilena
Ros-Lehtinen, the Chairwoman of the powerful House Foreign
Relations Committee, said.

"Pakistan has received billions of dollars worth of
aid; yet they have a US citizen, Raymond Davis, who is now
being held and is under very questionable circumstances. Are
we going to demand -- are we going to still give our money
away to people who support the Taliban and put our
intelligence assets at risk?" he asked.

Clinton, on her part, strongly defended the
Administration`s decision to provide aid to Pakistan and
argued that Pakistan is one of the most important investment
for the United States.

Clinton said the Obama Administration is working
very hard in order to achieve the release of Davis.

"It`s one of our highest priorities across our
government. We do believe that the combination of military
and civilian aid that we have pursued with Pakistan is in
America`s interests," she said.

Earlier in her prepared testimony, Clinton said in
Afghanistan and Pakistan, al-Qaeda is under pressure as never
before.

"Alongside our military offensive, we are engaged in
a major civilian effort that is helping to build up the
governments, economies and civil societies of both countries
and undercut the insurgency," she said.

"Now these two surges, the military and civilian
surge, set the stage for a third, a diplomatic push in support
of an Afghan process to split the Taliban from al-Qaida, bring
the conflict to an end and help stabilize the region," Clinton
said.

"Our military commanders are emphatic. They cannot
succeed without a strong civilian partner. Retreating from our
civilian surge in Afghanistan with our troops still in the
field would be a grave mistake," she said.

"Equally important is our assistance to Pakistan, a
nuclear-armed nation with strong ties and interests in
Afghanistan. We are working to deepen our partnership and keep
it focused on addressing Pakistan`s political and economic
challenges, as well as our shared threats," Clinton said.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 00:37

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