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'Security aid to Pak after 2010 to be decided by its conduct'

A bill proposing a whopping $9.1 billion in aid to Pakistan in four years prohibits military assistance to Islamabad after 2010 unless the US President determines that the country is cooperating in non-proliferation efforts and making progress towards fighting terror groups. The PEACE Act prohibits security assistance to Pakistan after 2010 unless the President makes some determinations.

world Updated: May 24, 2009 14:26 IST

A bill proposing a whopping $9.1 billion in aid to Pakistan in four years prohibits military assistance to Islamabad after 2010 unless the US President determines that the country is cooperating in non-proliferation efforts and making progress towards fighting terror groups.

The Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement (PEACE) Act, passed by the powerful House Committee on Foreign Affairs recently, prohibits security assistance to Pakistan after 2010 unless the President makes some determinations.

The President will have to determine that Pakistan is continuing to cooperate with the US in non-proliferation efforts and has demonstrated a sustained commitment to and is making progress towards combating terrorist groups. However, the bill would allow the President to waive those requirements in the interests of national security.

The PEACE Act mandates the US President to annually give a presidential declaration that Pakistan is continuing to cooperate with the US in efforts to dismantle supplier networks relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons-related materials, including, as necessary, providing direct access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks. (More)

The President also needs to certify that Pakistan has shown a sustained commitment to and is making progress towards combating terror groups, including taking into account the progress Pakistan has made with regard to ceasing support, including by any elements within its military or intelligence agency, to extremist and terrorist groups, particularly to any group that conducted attacks against US or coalition forces in Afghanistan, or against the territory or people of neighbours.

Pakistan also needs to close terrorist camps in its tribal belt, dismantling terrorist bases of operations in other parts of the country, including Quetta and Muridke, and taking action when provided with intelligence about high-level terrorist targets and taking steps to prevent cross-border attacks into neighbouring countries.

A detailed description of Pakistan's efforts to prevent proliferation of nuclear-related material and expertise, is also required along with an assessment of whether assistance provided to Pakistan pursuant to this Act has directly or indirectly aided the expansion of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme, whether by the diversion of US assistance or the reallocation of Pakistani financial resources that would otherwise be spent for programmes and activities unrelated to its nuclear weapons programme.

The Committee also maintains strong concerns regarding recent reports of Pakistan expansion of its nuclear arsenal.

Given the expanding threat of Pakistan's domestic insurgency, the Government of Pakistan's further development of nuclear material appears inconsistent with its immediate security threats and is unhelpful in the context of efforts to strengthen US-Pak relations.

The President is required to give an evaluation of efforts undertaken by Pakistan to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other extremist and terrorist groups, close terrorist camps, including of JeM, LeT, and JuD and other terrorist groups; cease all support for terrorist groups; prevent cross-border attacks; increase oversight of madrasas, including closing madrasas with direct links to extremist and terrorist groups; and improve counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering laws.

Despite that the Act gives the President the waiver authority under national security. It mandates the President to develop a comprehensive regional security strategy to eliminate terrorist threats and close safe havens in Pakistan, including by working with the Pakistan Government and other relevant governments and organisations in the region and elsewhere to best implement effective counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism efforts in and near border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the FATA, NWFP, parts of Balochistan, and parts of Punjab.

There is a stringent oversight mechanism. It has made provisions of the Inspector General of the Department of State and the Inspector General of the US Agency for International Development to audit, investigate and oversee the obligation and expenditure of funds.