US Congress Puts New Restrictions on Aid to Pak

With regard to military aid to Pakistan, US Congress has passed a new bill laying down tough new restrictions on the aid and seeking from Obama administration that the fund will not be used to affect the ‘balance of power in the region’.

According to amendments by Senators Bob Menendez and Bob Corker in the Defence Authorisation Bill for 2010, the Secretary of Defence and the Secretary of State are required to give a determination that the payment is both in the national interest of the US and it will not affect the balance of power in the region.

The amendments lay down that the determination needs to be given prior to reimbursement of Coalition Support Fund to Pakistan. The new limits also include efforts to track where US military hardware sent to Pakistan ends up.

US Senate voted 68-29 in favour of $680 billion defence spending bill, which was earlier adopted by the House of Representatives by a vote of 281-146 on October 8. The bill now goes to President Barack Obama for his approval.

“We can’t lose sight of the very reason Pakistan receives these funds: they are a reimbursement for expenses incurred fighting terrorists and supporting US-led efforts to do the same,” Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey said.

“That fight is important to our own national security, and we have to ensure that our support for it is not being squandered or diverted. It is not only right for us to ensure that American taxpayer money does what it is intended to do, it is our duty as stewards of the national security and of taxpayer money,” he said.

“This provision simply ensures that the American peoples’ tax dollars are being used for their intended purpose,” Republican Corker said.

Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had last month said that military aid provided by the US during his tenure had been used to strengthen defences against India.

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