Issuing veiled warning to the Pakistani Army and its intelligence agency ISI, Senator John Kerry, who heads the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has said that they should mend their ways and be "genuine partners" of the US' effort to defeat terrorism in the region.
Speaking on the Senate floor yesterday, Kerry said in order for Pakistan to receive any military assistance, it must meet an annual certification that its "army and spy services are genuine partners" in the struggle against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups (including Lashkar-e Taeba, the perpetrator of Mumbai massacre of last November).
Pak Army and the ISI must also show that they are "genuine partner" of the US in the battle against the Taliban and its affiliates, who threaten US troops in Afghanistan from their sanctuaries in the Pakistani tribal areas. Further, they should prove that they are with the US in the effort to solidify democratic governance and rule of law in Pakistan, he said.
"These conditions are reasonable, and should be easy for any nation receiving American aid to meet," he said.
Kerry argued that his bill deliberately does not give any specific figure for the military aid to Pakistan, whereas it proposes tripling of civilian assistance to Pakistan to USD 1.5 billion per annum for the next five years.
"This bill allows us to fine-tune our approach in response to the level of will and competence displayed by Pakistan's military," he said.
"When we see genuine commitment, we can help increase capabilities; and when we see that commitment lacking, we can adjust, redirect our assistance rather than permit it to be squandered," he said.
The US has spent some USD 10 billion on military aid and compensation over the past eight years, and still, militants are 60 miles from the capital and Al Qaeda enjoys a sanctuary.
Kerry said Pakistan is now a nation where Osama bin Laden and the leadership of Al Qaeda have found sanctuary for the past seven years-a haven from which they and their confederates have plotted and carried out attacks on their host country, on neighboring countries, and on sites around the globe.
"In short, Pakistan has the potential either to be crippled by the Taliban, or to serve as a bulwark against everything the Taliban represents," he said.