US bill seeks ban on military aid to Pak
New US legislation, already endorsed by the House of Representatives, calls for stopping military assistance to Pakistan if Islamabad fails to halt the resurgence of Taliban inside its territory.
A passing reference has also been made to the Kashmir issue in this first piece of legislation by the new Congress since it was formed earlier this month. It urges the Bush administration to help resolve the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.
It asks that for fiscal years 2008 and 2009, US military assistance to Pakistan "may not be provided" unless the president "determines and certifies" that the Pakistan government is taking all actions against Taliban.
These include credit for military sales and purchases in Foreign Assistance Act and Section 23 of Arms Export Control Act along with licenses for any item controlled under this Act.
The US president may waive the limitation on assistance for a fiscal year if he determines and certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that it is important to the national security interest of the US to do so.
The proposed legislation urges the US president to certify that Islamabad is making all efforts to "prevent Taliban from operating in areas under its sovereign control, including in the cities of Quetta and Chaman" before releasing any funds or approving licenses for enhancing its military capability.
The new provisions form part of the Implementation of 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act, 2007, aimed at revamping the US national security and foreign policy apparatus to address challenges post 9/11.
Three countries have been singled out in the proposed legislation: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.
A congressional aide, who was not want to be identified, told Dawn newspaper that the legislation "shows the general mood in both the chambers, which is not very favourable to Pakistan."
The legislation has a section on Pakistan that lays down a set of policy objectives that range from ensuring free and fair parliamentary elections this year to securing borders to "prevent movement of militants and terrorists into other countries."
The Act, cleared by the House of Representatives, is now being discussed in the Senate.
Once the Act is passed, the president will be required to submit within 90 days to the relevant Congressional committees a report on the US strategy towards Pakistan that should spell out the "long-term" plan which the US has in mind to "accomplish the goal of building a moderate Pakistan."