No intention to micromanage affairs, US lawmakers tell PakistanOctober 15th, 2009 - 3:32 pm ICT by IANS
By Arun Kumar
Washington, Oct 15 (IANS) In a bid to soothe ruffled feathers in Pakistan over anti-terror strings attached to the $7.5 billion aid package, US lawmakers have provided a written explanation to Islamabad about the offending provisions, saying there was no intention to “micromanage internal Pakistani affairs”.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman were joined by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi as they spoke to reporters Wednesday about their response to Pakistani protests about US meddling in its affairs.
Qureshi had rushed back to Washington this week to report on the Pakistani parliament’s opposition to the five-year package of non-military aid. Some Pakistani politicians said the aid bill was an American attempt to micro-manage Pakistan’s civilian and military affairs.
Kerry said an “explanatory statement” will accompany the aid bill, which is awaiting President Obama’s signature.
“Everyone is on the same page,” Kerry said, adding: “We are all clear about the intentions of the legislation.” He said the bill “demonstrates the American people have a long-term commitment to the people of Pakistan”.
Qureshi thanked the congress leaders and said he will return home to report to parliament.
“You heard me,” Qureshi said to Kerry and Berman, referring to his relaying the concerns about the aid bill. “And this document, which I think is a historic document, is a step forward in our relationship.”
The key element of the statement, which will be attached to the aid bill as it is signed into law, is that no interference was intended with Pakistani civilian and military operations. The statement says the bill sets out a variety of requirements to ensure US efficiency and compliance, and places no new conditions on the government of Pakistan.
“The many requirements of this report are intended as a way for Congress to assess how effectively US funds are being spent, shortfalls in US resources that hinder the use of such funds, and steps the government of Pakistan has taken to advance our mutual interests in countering extremism and nuclear proliferation and strengthening democratic institutions,” the statement says.
“There is no intent to, and nothing in this act in any way suggests that there should be, any US role in micromanaging internal Pakistani affairs, including the promotion of Pakistani military officers or the internal operations of the Pakistani military.”
Senator Berman said the statement is “a reflection of our desire to be long-term partners with the Pakistan people”.
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