Eliminating LeT, terror key riders for US aid to Pak

     The Kerry-Lugar aid bill that according to Pakistan is the perfect ointment for all its wounds could actually prove a headache for Islamabad as the assistance would be stringed with some significant conditions. There are numerous conditions which the Gilani government would have to fulfill to ensure that the 1.5 billion dollars of annual assistance being offered by the Obama Administration is released. The Secretary of State has to issue a certificate on these ‘sensitive’ subjects before each installment of the US aid is disbursed, The News reports. The Secretary of State, under the direction of the President, has to certify to the appropriate congressional committees that: 1. The Government of Pakistan is continuing to cooperate with the United States in efforts to dismantle supplier ‘networks relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons-related materials’, such as providing relevant information from or direct access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks; 2. The Government of Pakistan during the preceding fiscal year has demonstrated a sustained commitment to and is making significant efforts towards combating terrorist groups, consistent with the purposes of assistance described in section 201, including taking into account the extent to which it has made progress on matters such as: (a) ceasing support, including by any elements ‘within the Pakistan military or its intelligence agency’, to extremist and terrorist groups, particularly to any group that has conducted attacks against United States or coalition forces in Afghanistan, or against the territory or people of neighbouring countries; (b) preventing al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated terrorist groups, such as ‘Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, from operating in the territory of Pakistan, including carrying out cross-border attacks into neighbouring countries’, closing terrorist camps in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), dismantling terrorist bases of operations in other parts of the country, including Quetta and Muridke, and taking action when provided with intelligence about high-level terrorist targets; and (c) strengthening counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering laws; and (3) the security forces of Pakistan are not materially and substantially subverting the political or judicial processes of Pakistan. When asked whether the Army or other important institutions have been taken on board before agreeing to such conditions in the bill, Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit, who is currently in New York, said the bill has been drafted by the US, and hinted that Islamabad could do nothing in this regard. “Basically this is not our decision and the Americans have drafted it but the Pakistan government has been in close touch with them. Acceptance of these conditions is not an issue as we have tried to convince them that such conditions do not work,” Basit clarified. However, many believe that President Asif Ali Zardari has commited a blunder by accepting those clauses mentioned in the aid bill, and that too even without taking all the stakeholders on board. Some of the members of the Pakistani delegation who are in New York with Zardari believe that the President would have to face severe consequences for his what seems to be a big gamble, when he returns to Islamabad. “This is the misguided vision of a few bloated visionaries in the president’s camp and they will soon find out the heat of these unacceptable conditions when they return to Pakistan,” a member of the Pakistani delegation said.

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