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US freezes $700m aid to Pak

world Updated: Dec 17, 2011 01:01 IST
HT Correspondent

The US congress on Thursday passed a defense policy bill that among things freezes $700 million in aid to Pakistan unless acts against improvised explosives devices.

The senate passed the bill Thursday evening and it is now headed for the White House to be signed into law. The House of representatives passed it Wednesday night.

President Barak Obama’s signature is a formality now as an earlier objection by the White House to one of the provisions of the bill has since been sorted. The defense authorisation bill cuts Pentagon’s budget sets policy.

The Pakistan freeze is one of the provisions of the bill, not the main or the only one.

But the bill demonstrates in starkest detail the US’s growing disappointment with an ally that has failed to align its interests with that of its most generous benefactor.

The bill freezes $700 million aid to Pakistan unless it can prove it is taking steps to stop militants based on its soil from making IEDs that kill American troops in Afghanistan.

“What this piece of legislation requires is that the administration make certain certifications as to how our general relationship with Pakistan is going in certain categories in order to release the money,” said state department spokesman Victoria Nuland on Thursday.

US lawmakers have long been demanding aid to Pakistan being linked to its contribution to the fight against terrorism, specially since Osama bin Laden was found hiding in Pakistan.