Pakistan seeks US hand in dispute on aid bill link to attacks on Taliban
Pakistan's foreign minister has sought interference to prevent a debate at home over whether the conditions in a U.S. aid bill violated Pakistani sovereignty.
Pakistan's foreign minister has sought on Wednesday Washington interference to prevent a debate at home over whether the conditions in a U.S. aid bill violated Pakistani sovereignty.
Pakistan opposition angered the aid bill over U.S. move to tie an important part of funds to offensive against Taliban.
"We have taken a step forward, and I am going back to Pakistan to tell my parliament and to conclude the debate on the note that our relationship will go forward, we will deepen it and we will strengthen it," Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.
He spoke at a joint appearance with Senator John Kerry and Representative Howard Berman, authors of the bill that provides $7.5 billion in "nonmilitary" aid to Pakistan over five years. Pakistan's military and opposition were angered by conditions tying an important part of funds to fighting Taliban and keeping the army out of politics.
Even though Qureshi was upbeat, the pressure in his country is growing because of deeped suspicions over U.S. intentions toward Pakistan.
The foreign minister was in Washington just last week when he had praised the bill -- only to be sent back a few days later to voice strong concerns, particularly from Pakistan's powerful military, over the legislation.
To set the record straight, Kerry said the legislation's authors would issue a "joint explanatory statement" clarifying their intentions and place it in the Congressional Record, the official log of proceedings of the House of Representatives and Senate.
It would also "honor" the Pakistan security forces' "sacrifices" in fighting Taliban, he said.
Pakistan had grabed over 5 billion USD in financial assistance after military offensive on Taliban.
Pakistani army launched late April a massive offensive in Swat Valley, breaking the deal between Taliban and government over a Sharia administration.
Taliban gained the right to form provincial administration, implementing Shar'ia laws in Swat districts under the deal. But Taliban fighters entered neighbouring districts, including one just 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Islamabad.
Taliban says the offensive was launched by government to please U.S. who has pressured to break it.
Taliban says Pakistani government had no respect for any pact and They kept violating every agreement and if this goes on.
Qureshi called the joint statement an "historic document" and said he was grateful Congress and the Obama Administration took the time to "hear me out and allay the fears of Pakistan".
The bill states that since 2001, the United States has contributed over $15 billion in aid to Pakistan, of which more than $10 billion has been security-related assistance.
President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law by Friday, a White House official said.
Reuters Last Mod: 15 Ekim 2009, 02:11