Clauses in Kerry-Lugar Bill not binding: Pak govt

Islamabad: A day after its powerful army expressed "serious concern" over some of the provisions in the US economic aid bill, Pakistan Government today said the legislation is "not an ideal document" and that it is not binding on it to accept clauses laid in it.

Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit said the Kerry- Lugar Bill that envisages the provision of 7.5 billion dollars in economic aid over five years is not a bilateral pact.

"The Kerry-Lugar bill is not a negotiated document. It is a piece of legislation drafted by the US Congress and it is not binding for Pakistan to accept it," he told the weekly news briefing.

Besides his remarks at the news briefing, Basit also told reporters that the US bill is "not an ideal document" and its "language could have been better".

Basit's comments came a day after the Army expressed "serious concerns" about clauses in the legislation that it said would impact Pakistan's national security interests.

The ruling Pakistan People's Party, which has pulled out all stops to endorse the bill, was put on the back foot by the Army's criticism.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said the Kerry-Lugar bill's conditions are not binding on Pakistan and that his government will seek to forge consensus on the issue among political parties and all stakeholders.

Bureau Report