Vital members of the US Congress are not prepared to support military aid to Pakistan unless it takes specific actions against designated terrorists and the Obama administration is bound to follow their decision, US State Department has said.
“Key members of Congress have been clear they’re not prepared to support US military aid to Pakistan absent some specific actions,” Elizabeth Trudeau, a State Department’s official, said at a daily press briefing on Thursday.
In response to the question, Trudeau pointed out that the Obama administration also wanted Pakistan to act against the Haqqani network.
United States has already conveyed its views on the Haqqani network to Pakistan and the country knows what to do, the official added.
“Pakistan has spoken that they will not discriminate against groups. We could encourage them to continue to live up to that,” she said in response to a question on whether the US was willing to certify that Pakistan is taking enough action against Haqqani Network.
Trudeau further said that the Obama administration was committed to working with Congress to deliver security assistance to its partners and allies for furthering the US goals by building capacity to meet shared security challenges.
The statement coincided with Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz telling the lawmakers in Senate that the relations between Islamabad and Washington have been on a downward spiral over the past three months.
“While we have already secured approval for the [F-16s] sale, the funding issue is still being discussed as the US Congress has turned down the [Barack Obama] administration’s proposal for using the [Foreign Military Financing] FMF facility on this count,” Aziz said while delivering a policy statement in the upper house of parliament on Thursday.
Last week, the State Department had asked Pakistan to fund the whole purchase of US F-16 fighter jets on its own. “Given Congressional objections, we have told the Pakistanis that they should put forward national funds for that purpose,” spokesperson John Kirby told a weekly press briefing.
Previously, Islamabad was supposed to pay only $270 million while the Obama administration was to pay $430 million in subsidy through the US foreign military financing budget for the fighter jets.
However, during a Congressional hearing, US lawmakers made it clear that they would not allow the Obama administration to use American funds for the deal. The decision to stop the subsidy came last week after hearing of a subcommittee on Asia and Pacific of the US Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs.
At the hearing, US lawmakers had accused Pakistan of not doing enough to fight militants and expressed concerns that the jets could be used against India while also raising objections to using American taxpayers’ money to fund the sale.