US House approves $650m cut in Pakistan aid

Published: July 20, 2012
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US lawmakers approve amendment to cut the US aid to Pakistan by half.  DESIGN: JAMAL KHURSHID

US lawmakers approve amendment to cut the US aid to Pakistan by half. DESIGN: JAMAL KHURSHID

WASHINGTON: 

The US House of Representatives voted to cut $650 million in military assistance to Pakistan on Thursday, acquiescing to Republican demands for deeper reductions in aid to Islamabad.

The move, led by Republican Congressman Ted Poe, took place when the House was debating the Department of Defence Appropriations Act for 2013, which allocates money for the US military budget.

Addressing the House floor, Rep. Ted Poe, said it was time for a new strategy with Pakistan, while describing Pakistan as a “Benedict Arnold” nation. Benedict Arnold was an American general who defected to the British side during the Revolutionary War.

“They (Pakistan) have proven to be deceptive and deceitful and a danger to the United States,” said Rep. Poe, adding that Pakistan did not deserve US money.

Rep. Poe had initially demanded a cut of $1.3 billion, but on the intervention of ranking member Rep. Young, he was asked to amend it, leading to a cut of $650 million.

The fresh cut follows Washington’s recent efforts to bridge the gap with Pakistan. The inflammatory rhetoric and cheerful endorsement in the US House may not be reassuring for the Obama administration as it tries to rebuild relations with Islamabad.

“More money is not going to solve the problem. … Pakistan is playing America.”

Poe went on to add that Pakistan was a bad ally before they closed the Nato supply routes, adding that they didn’t need to pay Pakistan to betray the US as Islamabad would do it for ‘free’.

“The only thing Pakistan’s military rulers understand is dollars, and as long as we keep the money flowing, they have no incentive to change their evil ways.”

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who had earlier called for Balochistan to be given the right to self-determination, said Pakistan is a war profiteer, and was “laughing all the way to the bank.”

He urged the House not to give assistance to Pakistan until Dr. Shakil Afridi, a government surgeon who helped the CIA uncover Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts, was freed. The issue of Dr Afridi could further imperil US aid to Pakistan, as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says he has enough votes in the Senate to end all aid to Pakistan.

“If Dr Afridi is still in jail next week, I will force this vote,” Paul said on the floor Tuesday morning.

Rep Norman Dicks (D-Wash), the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, appeared to agree to the compromise. The action came as the House took up the underlying bill, a $608.2 billion defence appropriations measure for the coming year, including $88.2 billion in emergency funds for overseas contingency operations, chiefly for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The amendment to cut assistance to Pakistan was agreed to by a voice vote. The defence bill has yet to be approved by the Senate.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • syed Imran
    Jul 20, 2012 - 10:41AM

    Shame on the leaders of this country for ensuring that we live on American crumbs.

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  • DevilHunterX
    Jul 20, 2012 - 12:31PM

    Another failure on the part of PPP. Jeay Bhutto!

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  • Sobriquet
    Jul 20, 2012 - 12:37PM

    @syed Imran:
    Pakistan does not live on “American crumbs” as you claim, but on real money. So don’t disparage what America is giving—without this, many in Pakistan would not even be able to get the so-called ‘crumbs’.

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  • Rune
    Jul 20, 2012 - 7:46PM

    The USA should cut all international aid to all foreign nations. As long as there are people in need in the USA no money should be send abroad.

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  • Jul 20, 2012 - 7:56PM

    The solution to this military aid cut is very simple. The amount USA cuts should be compensation by extra terrif on container transport from Karachi to Afghanistan. USA only understands the language of power and has no regard for the interests of a friendly nation.
    To do so, however requires Pakistani political leadership with backbone and courage, which PPP government sadly lacks.

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  • Singh
    Jul 20, 2012 - 8:49PM

    @Bashy Quraishy: USA only understands the language of power
    First try to find out why Nato route open. Read today ET. American Navy is in Pakistan water & Master in Pakistan feel the heat of that. wait for next news. Pakistan will take 180 degree turn in future for its survival.

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  • Jul 20, 2012 - 10:15PM

    @Bashy Quraishy:
    USA now does not think Pakistan a friendly nation they described Pakistan a nation which though pretending friendly has changed side( i.e.working against the interest of USA)

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  • Purede51
    Jul 20, 2012 - 10:46PM

    I Don’t Understand Why Is Pakistan Opening Supply Routes For The “Illegal Intruders” Who Never Respected Our Borders. Treat The US Exactly The Same Way As They Treat Pakistan. We Must Learn To Start Living On Our Money & Develop Our Own Country So Much So That Our People Never Think About Borrowing From The BLACKMAILERS…

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  • Bashy Quraishy
    Jul 21, 2012 - 2:45PM

    Dear Singh and Sharma, I do not expect Indians to have any sympathy or understanding for the geopolitical issues faced by Pakistan but I at least wish that people have common sense to see international issues in broader perspective.
    Pakistan has a very large agriculture sector as well as a manufacturing one. It does not need USA aid or crumbs nor Pakistani interests tally with America’s. Why should we fight a war on terror which USA started or use as a tool to get a foothold in the area? Indians should not kid themselves or support USA. It can come to bite them where it hurts most.

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  • Madhav Das
    Jul 21, 2012 - 4:41PM

    I don’t think India is thinking of fighting an wars on behalf of the USA. Even on an issue like sanctions against Iran, the Indian government is still purchasing oil from Iran. The US has recognized that India has its own compulsions and cannot toe the US line on blocking oil purchases from Iran that only hurt the Indian economy.
    India produces vast amounts of cotton and in return the US may ask India to put an additional squeeze on Pakistan by crashing the international price of cotton. India with its production of over 35 million bales can hurt the Pakistani export market severely. Pakistan will find its entire export income crashing if India enters the market with a view to hurt the Pakistani economy.
    Maybe his will be India’s strategy of blunting Pakistani hostility.

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  • Jul 21, 2012 - 9:47PM

    Dear Mr. Das
    I am happy to hear that Indian decision makers are not following USA blindly. They have realized that India has to live side by side with Pakistan so it is in their own interests to behave.
    As far as putting pressure on Pakistan is concerned by flooding the foreign markets, you must be aware that it can not be done because there are quotas to export for every country.
    By crashing the international cotton market is not a kid’s play. It will hurt India too as well as other countries like Bangla Desh, Egypt, Indonesia and many more. Believe me if India could do as you suggest they would have done a long time ago. So before you start threatening Pakistan, look at your own economy, which is going to dogs. Foreign investment has totally stopped, infrastructure is pathetic and 60% people live less than 2 dollars a day.
    Look at where China is and where India is. It must give you some nightmares. I am not happy to remind you this but Indian arrogance needs to have an occasional jolt of reality check. Let India and Pakistan work together because a strong Pakistan is in the best interest of India.

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  • Madhav Das
    Jul 22, 2012 - 10:27AM

    The position of China is of no matter to India because we are not competing countries. We have just been the recipient of $ 1.5 Billion from China in Chinese start ups. We do not anticipate any hostility from them just as we are putting some serious money into the Chinese IT and education sectors.
    What we hope will not raise the hackles of China is the emerging USA, Russia, India, Israel, India, Vietnam and Japanese collaborations.None of the projects are in the defense space but in Space, renewable energy, and health care but it will inevitably have some military dimensions in the future.
    So in answer to your comments, no, India is not threatening Pakistan but merely weighing its options for the future as we expect that the US will at some time demand some affirmative actions from India in return for their support.

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