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US bill on Pak aid ignores Indian concerns

Source: PTI
June 25, 2009 11:34 IST
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The Kerry-Lugar bill, which triples United States' aid to Islamabad, seems to have ignored New Delhi's concern about use of Pakistani soil for terror attacks in India, even as it requires presidential certification that the Pakistan army is making "concerted efforts" against Taliban.

The bill, which was unanimously passed by the US Senate on Wednesday, requires annual certification from the US President that the Pakistani security forces are "making concerted efforts to prevent the Taliban from using the territory of Pakistan as a sanctuary from which to launch attacks within Afghanistan."

By doing so, the Kerry-Lugar bill, which is supported by the Obama administration, indicates that its focus is on Afghanistan and appears to be mute on the terrorist attacks carried out by terrorists groups like Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad in various parts of India, which the United States is very well aware of.

In fact, it was the US which was instrumental in the United Nations declaring both LeT and JeM as terrorist organisations.

The House version of the bill, which was passed on June 11, in its initial phases did mention this fact and imposed conditions that Pakistani soil would not be used to launch any terrorist attack in India was deleted after hue and cry from Islamabad and reservations expressed by the Obama administration.

However, the Senate bill asks for several presidential certifications from, with regard to aid to Pakistan. It requires benchmarks for measuring the effectiveness of US assistance, including a systematic, qualitative basis for assessing whether desired outcomes are achieved.

It requires the US president to submit a semi-annual report to Congress that describes in detail the assistance provided to Pakistan under this Act and assesses the effectiveness of US assistance thus far, including any incidents of waste, fraud, and abuse.

It also requires the Secretary of State, after consulting with the Secretary of Defence and the Director of National Intelligence, to submit to Congress an annual report on the progress of the Pakistani security forces.

The bill authorises new money for administrative expenses, up to $ 20 million for auditing expenses, and up to $ 5 million for the US Ambassador to Pakistan to provide critical need development or humanitarian assistance.

It urges accountability and transparent reporting of Coalition Support Funds to further clarify purposes and impact.

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