Bill tabled in US Congress to revoke Pakistan’s ally status
Two US congressman introduced a bipartisan legislation on Thursday to strip Pakistan of the status of a major non-Nato ally (MNNA), which comes with significant defence benefits, saying it has failed to act against terrorists.
The bill was introduced by Ted Poe, a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Texas who has long advocated tough measures against Pakistan over its reluctance to combat terrorism, and Rick Nolan, a Democrat from Minnesota.
“Pakistan must be held accountable for the American blood on its hands,” Poe said in a statement.
“For years, Pakistan has acted as a Benedict Arnold (a general from American civil war who switched sides) ally of the United States. From harbouring Osama bin laden to backing the Taliban, Pakistan has stubbornly refused to go after, in any meaningful way, terrorists that actively seek to harm opposing ideologies.”
Nolan said, “The fact is, the billions of dollars we have sent to Pakistan over the last 15 years has done nothing to effectively fight terrorism and make us safer. It is time to wake up to the fact that Pakistan has ties to the same terrorist organisations which they claim to be fighting.”
“We must make a clean break with Pakistan, but at the very least, we should stop providing them the eligibility to obtain our own sophisticated weaponry in an expedited process granting them a privileged status reserved for our closest allies,” Poe said.
Pakistan was endowed MNNA status in 2004 by President George W Bush to help the United States combat al Qaeda and the Taliban across its western border with Afghanistan.
A major non-Nato ally gets several defence-related benefits such as priority delivery of supplies, speedy processing of purchases, and government guarantee for loans.
An MNNA can also stockpile US military hardware, participate in defence research and development programmes and be sold more sophisticated weaponry.
Last August, the then secretary of defence Ash Carter withheld $300 million in military reimbursements to Pakistan because he could not certify that the country was taking adequate action against the Haqqani terror network.
“Time and time again, Pakistan has taken advantage of America’s goodwill and demonstrated that they are no friend and ally of the United States,” Nolan said.
The legislation will protect American taxpayer dollars and make the US and the world safer, Nolan said.
(With inputs from agencies)