Obama to sign Kerry Lugar bill for aid to Islamabad; Pak military wary | world | Hindustan Times
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Obama to sign Kerry Lugar bill for aid to Islamabad; Pak military wary

world Updated: Oct 09, 2009 10:28 IST
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US President Barack Obama would go ahead and sign the bill for $ 7.5 billion aid to Pakistan into law, notwithstanding Pakistani military's public opposition to it, the White House today said.

"President will sign the legislation," the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters at his daily press briefing, when asked about the opposition to the Kerry Lugar bill in Pakistan.

"This is part of what many believe is important assistance for Pakistan. Pakistan is a key ally of the US. The bill covers a wide range of civilian aid including security assistance. Obviously the President would sign it," he said.

The US Congress passed the bill last week and it is now before the President to be signed into law. Obama has 10 days to sign the bill into law. The bill triples civilian aid to Pakistan to $ 7.5 billion in the next five years.

The Kerry-Lugar Bill lays down a provision of a periodical assessment by Secretary of State, who would certify that Pakistan was not allowing its territory to be used for launching attacks on neighbouring countries.

"The President will sign the legislation. Obviously, it is posted on our website in accordance with our pledge to post legislation before the president signs it," Gibbs said in response to a question. The text of the bill specifically mentions two Pakistani cities: Muridke, on the northeastern border with India, where the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is based; and Quetta, located on the southwestern border with Afghanistan, where reportedly Mullah Mohammad Omar-led Afghan Taliban leadership council is based.

"This is part of what this administration and Capitol Hill believe is important assistance for Pakistan. Pakistan, obviously, is a key ally of the US. And the bill covers a wide range of civilian activities, including security assistance and it's something the President will sign," Gibbs said.

He said there are a lot of important measures in this legislation, to help the Pakistanis and to improve US-Pak relationship.