As the Obama administration steps up assistance to Pakistan, a leading lawmaker has introduced a legislation that would authorise a tripling of economic aid but expects Islamabad to stop supporting terror groups targeting India.
Howard Berman, who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said his Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act (PEACE), would establish a new framework for US-Pakistan relations.
<b1>The bill (HR 1886), which would increase economic and development assistance to $7.5 billion and authorise $3 billion to train and equip the Pakistani military over the next five years, enjoys bipartisan support. A measure authorising a similar increase in assistance is likely to be introduced in the Senate.
Pakistan must also redouble its efforts to root out the Taliban and Taliban-affiliated groups that support insurgents in Afghanistan and not support any group that conducts “activities meant to instill fear or terror in India.”
The bill places emphasis on strengthening democratic institutions, promoting economic development and improving Pakistan’s education system. It says Pakistan must “maintain its commitment to and ensure the uninterrupted practice of democracy.”
The bill would limit the kinds of military equipment Pakistan could receive. For example, the money may not be used to buy or upgrade F–16 fighter aircraft or munitions for them.
To ensure that US assistance is benefiting the Pakistani people, the legislation requires rigorous audits. The president will also have to certify the progress of counterinsurgency operations.
The proposed restrictions have made the White House and the Pakistani government uneasy, the Washington Post reported.