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With Trump’s support, US senator Rand Paul moves bill to end $2 billion civilian aid to Pakistan

A statement issued by Rand Paul’s office said the same bill will be introduced in the House of Representatives by Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat who is co-chair of the India Caucus in the lower chamber, and Mark Sanford, a Republican.

world Updated: Jan 26, 2018 13:20 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
US,United States,Pakistan
President Donald Trump speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos. (AP Photo)

United States senator Rand Paul has introduced a legislation that prevents the federal government from processing more than $2 billion civilian assistance to Pakistan and reallocates the money to develop highways in Washington.

“We fail our responsibilities to protect our country and properly steward taxpayers’ hard-earned money when we support countries that chant ‘Death to America’ and burn our flag. Let’s bring that money home and use it to help rebuild our infrastructure instead of giving it to a nation that persecutes Christians and imprisons people such as the doctor that helped us get Osama bin Laden,” Paul, a Republican senator from the state of Kentucky, said in a statement.

President Donald Trump endorsed Paul’s bill blocking civilian aid to Pakistan when the senator, who has been a critic of the Asian country’s patchy record on counter-terrorism, announced his intentions days ago.

“Good idea Rand!” the president had written on the micro blogging site then, re-tweeting a post by the senator, who had said, “I’m introducing a bill to end aid to Pakistan in the coming days. My bill will take the money that would have gone to Pakistan and put it in an infrastructure fund to build roads and bridges here at home.”

A statement issued by Paul’s office said the same bill will be introduced in the House of Representatives by Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat who is co-chair of the India Caucus in the lower chamber, and Mark Sanford, a Republican.

Paul’s bill follows and seeks to build on a decision by the Trump administration earlier this month to suspend nearly $2 billion in security aid to Pakistan for not taking decisive action against terrorists operating from its soil, in this instance, in Afghanistan.

There has been growing disenchantment in America with Pakistan, a one-time ally, since bin Laden was found and killed in his hideout in Abbottabad in Pakistan in 2011.

Continued reluctance by Pakistan to act against terrorists sheltering on its soil had added to it. And after signalling growing impatience for months after taking over, President Trump brought down the hammer with a devastating Tweet on New Years’ Day: “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help.”

“No more!” the President had added, ominously.

First Published: Jan 26, 2018 12:24 IST