US lawmakers questions US aid to Pakistan



US lawmakers questions US aid to Pakistan 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