Pak senator for withdrawing US-aid bill

Musharraf's close ally, Senator Mushahid Hussain, says that the bill should be withdrawn in the interests of Pak-US relations.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2007 11:35 IST

A close ally of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says US legislation that would link military aid to Pakistan's efforts fighting militants on the border with Afghanistan amounts to "punishing an ally and a friend" and should be withdrawn.

Senator Mushahid Hussain, chairman of Pakistan's foreign relations committee and a leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League party, also criticised on Monday what he said was a US policy that insisted on pursuing the war in Iraq before finishing the job in Afghanistan.

Responding to US criticism of Pakistan's efforts against Taliban militants who are said to be using Pakistan as a base for attacks on Afghanistan, Hussain asked "why are we being penalised for a failure that is due to wrong policies?

Let me tell you that the original sin was committed by Washington."

Hussain said in an interview with the agency that a bill passed this month by the US House of Representatives should be "withdrawn in the interests of Pakistan-American relations, and in the broader interests of the anti-terrorism campaign.

The bill would link military aid to a certification from US President George W Bush that Islamabad is doing its best to counter Taliban operations in Pakistan and secure its long Afghan frontier.

The proposed US legislation notes a "number of critical issues that threaten to disrupt the relationship between the United States and Pakistan, undermine international security and destabilise Pakistan".

Those include Pakistan's porous borders, nuclear proliferation, Islamic extremism and slow efforts to move towards democracy.

First Published: Jan 30, 2007 11:35 IST