US senators propose amendments to block Pak aid

Top American senators have reportedly introduced amendments to make it difficult for the government to give military and civilian aid to Pakistan.

Updated: Nov 18, 2011, 13:36 PM IST

Washington: Top American senators have reportedly introduced amendments to make it difficult for the government to give military and civilian aid to Pakistan unless that country takes concrete steps against militant groups like the Haqqani network.

The amendments were introduced on Wednesday by several top senators, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Under the Reid Amendment, the Secretary of State needs to certify that Islamabad is cooperating with Washington to fight against the Haqqani network, the Quetta Shura Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other domestic and foreign extremist groups, including taking steps to end support for such groups and prevent them from operating in Pakistan and carrying out cross-border attacks into neighbouring countries, The Nation reports.

The Reid Amendment also states that US funds appropriated by this Act under the headings ‘Foreign Military Financing Programme’ and ‘Pakistan Counter-insurgency Capability Fund’ for fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, that are available for assistance for Pakistan, may be made available only to support counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in Pakistan.

In the recent past, several US lawmakers have been claiming that money given to Pakistan for counter-terrorism is diverted for other purposes.

The Reid Amendment also imposes tough conditions for civilian aid to Pakistan.

It says the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available for direct government-to-government assistance only if the Secretary of State certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that the US and Pakistan have agreed, in writing, to achievable and sustainable goals, benchmarks for measuring progress, and expected results for the use of such funds; and have established mechanisms within each implementing agency to ensure that such funds are used for the purposes for which they were intended.

The Secretary of State could suspend any direct government-to-government assistance to an implementing agency if the Secretary has credible information of misuse of such funds by any such agency, it added.

Of the funds appropriated under ‘Economic Support Fund’ in this Act for assistance for Pakistan, five million dollars should be made available for human rights and democracy programmes, including training of government officials and security forces, and aid for human rights organisations and the development of democratic political parties, the Reid Amendment said.

It has also kept a provision of ten million dollars for emergency humanitarian needs.