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Pakistan has taken US for a ride: Ed Royce

June 13, 2009 00:36 IST
Observing that Pakistan has taken the United States for a ride with massive aids for its support in the war on terror, an influential lawmaker in Washington D.C has asked the Obama administration to make sure taxpayers' money provided in assistance is accounted for and does not go down the drain.

"Pakistan has taken us for a ride," Congressman Ed Royce said, adding, since 9/11 US has provided Islamabad with some $ 12.3 billion in assistance.

"We spent billions before that. I have been to Pakistan a number of times; I have seen what has happened without conditions. A school that I visited in the North-West Frontier Province has now been blown up, and madrasas now educate kids there in jihad," he said.

Maintaining that "no blank checks" should be given, Ed Royce said: "... that the Pakistan government denounces this bill's conditions, frankly, should be a selling point."

He said little has improved in the country "without conditions" on American aid and there has been "significant waste and corruption."

"So this legislation is the proposal we have with the best conditions. It takes the position that while we must work with Pakistani government, our experience demands greater accountability," he said, in a debate on Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act that triples aid to $ 1.5 billion per annum.

Participating in a debate on tripling aid to Pakistan and imposing conditions on it, Royce said although the Pakistani army has killed many militants over the last few weeks, the insurgency remains potent.

"Clearly, Pakistan is going to be troubled for some time," said Royce, who is also Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans. Noting that the region is the "Center of international terrorism", Royce said, "Pakistan has a growing nuclear arsenal. Now, we can either stay engaged or try to shape events, or go to the sidelines and see a bad situation become a possible disaster."

He contended that with the "dire situation" that exists in Pakistan and with its nuclear arsenal, there is greater need for accountability.

"Pakistan is a tinderbox; its government is very weak, and social and economic trends are moving in the wrong direction and that is fostering extremism," he said.

Lalit K Jha in Washington D.C
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