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US lawmakers call Pak 'black hole'

As a team of US officials negotiated the reopening of NATO supply lines in Pakistan, lawmakers in Washington demanded answers to Islamabad's patchy record as an ally against terrorism.

world Updated: May 17, 2012 23:22 IST
HT Correspondent

As a team of US officials negotiated the reopening of NATO supply lines in Pakistan, lawmakers in Washington demanded answers to Islamabad's patchy record as an ally against terrorism.

At a congressional hearing on South Asia, the lawmakers wanted to know from officials if they could certify Pakistan was doing everything it could to root out the Haqqani network.

Daniel Feldman, from the office of the US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, equivocated, saying the US was working with Pakistan to deal with counter-terrorism.

Pakistan has indicated it was willing to reopen the NATO supply route shut down since the November shooting of Pak troops by US forces. But it is pitching for a passage fee, something to the tune of $ 1 mn a day. But the lawmakers seemed in no mood for a compromise.

"Pakistan is like a black hole for American aid," said Congressman Gary Ackerman, adding, "Our tax dollars go in, our diplomats go in (sometimes), our aid professionals go in (sometimes), our aid professionals go in (sometimes), our hopes go in, our prayers go in. Nothing good comes out."

Republican chair of the foreign affairs subcommittee on West Asia and South Asia, Steve Cabot said, "While we seek a sovereign and independent Afghanistan, Islamabad vies for a neighbour that can be easily influenced and controlled."

And, Washington's new crusader against Pakistan, Dana Rohrabacher, said: "We should cut Pakistan off every cent."