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Top Senators introduce amendments: US aid to Pak

Last Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2011 - 14:56

Washington: Angry over Pakistan`s lackluster
cooperation in the war on terror, top US Senators have
introduced amendments that would make it tough for government
here to give military and civilian aid to Islamabad unless it
takes concrete steps against militant groups like Haqqani
network and LeT.

The amendments were introduced yesterday by several top
Senators, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Under the Reid Amendment (SA 957) to the HR 2354, the
Secretary of State needs to certify that Pakistan is
cooperating with the US in efforts against Haqqani network,
the Quetta Shura Taliban, Lashkar e-Tayyiba, al Qaeda and
other domestic and foreign terrorist groups, including taking
steps to end support for such groups and prevent them from
operating in Pakistan and carrying out cross-border attacks
into neighboring countries.

However, the Secretary of State could waive this
condition in the national security interest of the US.

The Reid Amendment also requires the Secretary of State
to certify that the Government of Pakistan is not impeding the
issuance of visas for US visitors engaged in counter-terrorism
efforts and assistance programmes in Pakistan; and is
providing humanitarian bodies access to detainees, internally
displaced persons, and other Pakistani civilians affected by
the conflict.

The Reid Amendment also notes 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.

Of late, several US lawmakers have claimed that money
given to Pakistan for counter-terrorism is diverted for other
purposes.

Not only this, the Reid Amendment imposes tough
conditions for civilian aid to Pakistan too.

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 said.

Of the funds appropriated under "Economic Support Fund"
in this Act for assistance for Pakistan, USD five million
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, according to
the Reid Amendment.

It has also kept a provision of USD 10 million for
emergency humanitarian needs.

A similar amendment (SA 952) has been moved by four
American Senators -- Bob Casey, John Barrasso, Richard
Blumenthal and Sheldon Whitehouse.

Under the amendment introduced by the four Senators,
funds appropriated under "Foreign Military Financing
Programme" and "Pakistan Counter-Insurgency Capability Fund"
should not be obligated until the Secretary of State certifies
to various committees that Pakistan is demonstrating a
continuing commitment to and is making significant efforts
towards the implementation of a strategy to counter improvised
explosive devices (IEDs).

"Significant implementation efforts include attacking IED
networks, monitoring of known precursors used in IEDs, and the
development of a strict protocol for the manufacture of
explosive materials, including calcium ammonium nitrate, and
accessories and their supply to legitimate end users," it
said.

PTI

First Published: Thursday, November 17, 2011 - 14:56

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