US Republicans moved on Wednesday to tighten control of assistance to Pakistan and to cut aid to several of Israel’s neighbours, vowing to get tough on militants and tame US spending.
The Republican-led House Foreign Affairs Committee pushed a range of issues in a spending bill for the fiscal year starting in October, including cutting US contributions to the United Nations and restricting funding for abortion.
But to come into force, Republican lawmakers will need to reach a compromise with the Senate where President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party retains control and is mostly supportive of the administration’s international engagements.
The bill would impose tighter controls on assistance to Pakistan in light of the May 2 raid by US special forces that killed Osama bin Laden and persistent questions about the country’s military and intelligence.
The Obama administration recently suspended about one-third of its $2.7 billion annual defence aid to Pakistan. But it has assured Pakistan it is committed to a five-year, $7.5 billion civilian package approved in 2009 that aims to build schools, infrastructure and democratic institutions.
The Republican bill would also make the civilian aid contingent on measurable progress by Pakistan in fighting militants.
“The language in this bill puts that government on notice that it is no longer business as usual and that they will be held to account if they continue to refuse to cooperate,” said Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican Chairperson of the House committee.
Representative Howard Berman, the top Democrat on the committee and a main author of the 2009 bill, said he agreed on the need to ‘get tough with Pakistan’ but disagreed on restrictions over civilian aid.
“The key to long-term stability in Pakistan, and the only way we’ll ever get Pakistan to change its behaviour, is by strengthening its civilian institutions – not weakening them as this bill will do,” Berman said.
The House spending bill would also end decades of US security aid to Egypt, where protests swept out President Hosni Mubarak in February, unless the new leaders fully implement a peace treaty with Israel and exclude the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Republicans would also cut off security assistance to Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority and Yemen if Islamic militant movements such as Hezbollah and Hamas hold any position in government.
“Our goal is to promote democratic governments in these countries and ensure that US taxpayers are not subsidizing groups that seek to undermine US policies, interests and allies,” said Ros-Lehtinen.
The bill would also force the United States to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Like most countries that recognise Israel, the US maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv as it waits for a settlement on hotly contested Jerusalem.
Under the House bill, the president would lose the waiver right in 2014.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2011.
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Pakistan does not need such type of aid from the US. In fact Pakistan should charge them for using its infrastructure like roads, safety and security etc for transporting US and NATO equipments, weapons etc to Afghanistan. As a rough guess the amount to be received in this account would be four times the aid being offered to Pakistan, which does not come without such threats. why it was not done?? becuase it would be a calculated amount going directly into govt kitty and second four times to the aid package agreed by the US. Pakistan only getting drone attacks, law and order situation and internal inseurity for its alliance with the US in war against terror. what a pity..........
If the citizens of Pakistan will pay their fair share of income taxes, things will improve and and we may curtail US assistance.Above all strict laws for corruption, send these people to jail who are involved in any corruption.I would suggest start from the primary schools and teach the children that corruption is an evil which is a monster who eats up the country.Teach them morals,believe in themselves and the country.
It would appear hat the Republican's are doing the prep work to make Pakistan part of their election campaign ---- that's not good news for Pakistan because the more information the American voters have about what Pakistan the less support Pakistan is going to get. Why would an American want to give money to people who are xenophobic, hate America, believe 911 was a conspiracy, and don't believe OBL is dead?
This is hilarious! Hamas and Hizbullah have come to power through democratically held elections. If the US lawmakers want democracy then they have to deal with such religious parties that make it to the government or form coalition partners with other parties. Regarding the US relationship with Pakistan, i think it is very clear that this relationship is being seen through the eyes of India. The US has effectively taken sides and as soon as they pull out of Afghanistan this relationship will end, as it did in the 1990's. If the present trends continue the US is not going to have a single friend in the Muslim world specially after the Arab spring takes over Saudi Arabia. This, as history would show, would be a catastrophic error of judgement.
@A J Khan: "Stopping of aid will affect the bureaucrats only. People on ground has not seen any change while we were receiving aid nor will they feel the effects after it has been stopped."
Not really, aid combined with American pressure on the IMF to give out loans with generous conditions is what underpins the Pakistani economy. Do you really think the govt could offer gas subsidies to everyone without it? Not to mention any other social service (police, electric supplies, etc.) The govt has about $16-18 billion in forex reserves while having almost $117 billion in debt.
Vickram, As a Pakistani, I sincerely hope what you mentioned actually happens, that's only way for us to get out of this quagmire, built internal capacity and live within our own means...
@ vickram. Good point my Indian brother, we need to wake up and smell the coffee. We are already isolated from the world, most countries do not want us and our economic condition is dire.
This is only the beginning. I think you should be prepared for the worst-case-scenario.
--- What will you do if and when US declares Pak as a Terrorist State?
--- What will you do when IMF and other US friendly countries refuses loans to you?
--- What will you do if you people have problems in getting visa to US and Canada and Australia?
No use pretending that it is not going to happen. It certainly is going to happen, 200 hundred per cent, considering the way the US-Pak relations is undermined by the hatred you people have for them.
You have a serious problem looming ahead of you. PLS WAKE UP AND TRY TO AVERT THE DISASTER.
your well-wisher from India
@MH: I am not sure what you are pointing at. As a matter of fact, US money is mostly siphoned off by bureaucracy and it again lands in the Banks of Switzerland and UAE, so it is of little significance to ordinary people. We have yet to see the roads dilapidated by the heavy transport /traffic of ISAF and NATO being repaired through the aid (if at all they are paying for it), We have yet to see Schools blown by the Talibans being repaired by US Aid, We have yet to see businesses destroyed being helped by the aid, We have yet to see victims of the war on terror receiving any assistance. As a matter of fact Talibans are destroying us and USA is asking for more and more.
In our brief history,whenever there are dictators, the American pipes start Gushing"Oxygen, Water...etc" Full throttle. Where as, whenever there is democracy of some sort, these Pipes DRY UP real quick. Please comprehend reality & draw your conclusions.
@A J Khan: I guess you're very selective in the topics you read. Their aid has done plenty for you. The US label and involvement has been kept off of many things because of them being sympathetic to your fears of being attacked in those areas if it's pointed out.
US is out of money anyways, their imperial policies are facing finite resources. Pakistan can do good without any US interference or aid money. Bye bye US your time is up.
Stopping of aid will affect the bureaucrats only. People on ground has not seen any change while we were receiving aid nor will they feel the effects after it has been stopped. We all must pray to God to get us rid of the US AIDS
Its a mercenary approach, i.e. "fight for us and we pay you". So united states wants Pakistan to fight its war and get paid. We must thank the congressmen for letting us know this very openly as also an early warning "No Aid" after American withdrawl from Afghanistan. The US did this earlier after the soviet withdrawl and will repeat the same again.
An eye opener for the leadership to formulate its response.
And our liberals want to take their "concerns" so seriously. Won't happen. Here or in the Middle East.
It has been over six decades, since Pakistan came into being. Lot of other countries,which came into existence lot later, or destroyed during world war, or were not on the map are lot mor developed, and has strong economies. They achieved this, by working hard and smart. Japan, S. Korea, Singapor are xamples in Asia. Even the smallest of the European country, like Sweden, has a higher standard in almost all spheres. It is time for Pakistan, to stop living at the mercy of others, and marshall her own resources on a war footing. Where, there is will there is a way.
So the Americans were perfectly happy to bankroll a brutal dictator for decades but are threatening the new democratic leaders with aid cuts?
Like the rightwing Republicans many Pakistanis feel that they do not need military aid to fight the terrorists. However, poor Pakistani masses do need lot of help in education, economy, healthcare, agriculture, and civic infrastructure. Today most of the US aid has not reached the civilians and that is why they are very negative about the US.