Instead of bringing some relief to the Zardari government, the Kerry Lugar Bill in its present form seems to have brought it more headaches.
The bill, which awaits US President Barack Obama’s signature, will give Pakistan $1.5 billion annually over the next five years for democratic, economic and social development programmes. It also allows “such sums as are necessary” for military aid.
But in Pakistan, people have come out on the streets to protest the language and content of the bill. Analyst Ayaz Amir says that in its present state, the bill reads “like an FIR registered against Pakistan in the Islamabad thana”.
Even the army has jumped into the debate. The bill was discussed at the meeting of Corps Commanders which ended on Wednesday in the army headquarters in Rawalpindi.
The US says the bill is aimed at alleviating poverty in Pakistan and lessening the allure of militant groups in a country seen as crucial to the American fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
But opposition party spokesman Ahsan Iqbal says Pakistan is selling out to the US.