US Rejects Pak Criticism, No Change in Kerry-Lugar Bill

Rejecting Pakistan’s criticism that Kerry-Lugar bill in its existing form ‘impinges’ on country’s sovereignty, the US has said that there are no such conditions attached to it.

Following a meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Senator John Kerry said that the bill doesn’t have any such condition that ‘impinges’ on Pakistan’s sovereignty.

“There is nothing in this bill that impinges on Pakistani sovereignty – period, end of issue. And we have no intention of doing so,” he told reporters.

Needless to add, the aid package, which Kerry co-authored with Senator Richard Lugar, triples non-military aid to Pakistan to an annual outlay of $1.5bn for five years. The Kerry-Lugar bill set several conditions for the aid to Pakistan.

The bill says that the secretary of state will have to certify periodically that Pakistan is working to dismantle the illegal nuclear proliferation networks and also that Pakistan is no longer supporting militant groups. The aid money will be spent on various development projects.

The Pakistani army has expressed ‘serious concerns’ about the package and said that it was uneasy about ‘clauses impacting on national security’.

But Kerry told the Pakistani foreign minister, who is in Washington to highlight these concerns, that Pakistan had no reason to worry.

“The bill doesn’t have to be changed. If there is a misinterpretation, it simply has to be clarified,” he said.

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