Kerry Lugar Bill a 'milestone', critics should read it first: Clinton

     Terming the Kerry-Lugar Bill a 'milestone' in Pak-US bilateral relations, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has asked all critics of the 1.5 billion dollar annual assistance package to first read the Bill. Addressing a joint press conference with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Washington, Clinton said the focus of the Kerry Lugar Bill would be to improve education, health and other basic amenities in the troubled nation. Clinton said Washington would continue its cooperation with Pakistan in order to help to overcome all crises it is facing currently. "We want to play our role to remove poverty and improve health and education sectors in Pakistan," The News quoted Clinton, as saying. "A US team will visit Pakistan in the current month to hold dialogue on energy crisis faced by the country," she added. Responding to questions regarding wide scale discontent among Pakistani leaders and public over the massive expansion of the US embassy in Islamabad, Qureshi said Washington has no intention of Pakistan's micro-management. "Islamabad will compromise on the national sovereignty. US wants to establish long-term relationship with Pakistan. It respects the sovereignty of Pakistan and does not want to destabilize it," Qureshi added. He said the Kerry-Lugar Bill would improve the living standards of the Pakistanis. When asked about the meeting with his Indian counterpart, S.M. Krishna, on the margins of the UN General Assembly, Qureshi said the meeting was positive. "It was an opportunity to understand each other," Qureshi said.

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