US approves tripled aid bill for Pakistan

June 12th, 2009 - 12:51 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 12 (ANI): The US House of Representatives has approved a bill authorizing economic and military aid to Pakistan.

The bill will have certain benchmarks, but Senators are still undecided over what and how many yardsticks would be attached to it.

During a discussion on the bill, Democrat Senators opined that the United States must keep a detailed account of how Pakistan spends the money and ask for proof from Pakistan that it is working sincerely to clamp down on extremists operating on its soil.

The aid would mean that the US financial help to Pakistan would be doubled to 1.5 billion dollars annually through the 2013 fiscal year.

The aid is primarily meant for development spending aimed at weaning Pakistanis away from Islamic extremists.

“This legislation helps to lay the foundation for a stronger, more stable Pakistan,” chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Howard Berman said.

“We are simply asking Pakistan to follow through with the commitments it has already made. And in the process, we lay down an important marker that Congress will no longer provide a blank check,” Berman added.

Most of the rival Republican Senators opposed the bill in the House, saying conditions set for Pakistan to keep receiving the aid were too ‘onerous’.

“Our Democratic colleagues decided to load this bill up with ill-conceived provisions to micro-manage US security assistance to Pakistan,” The News quoted Dan Burton, the top Republican on the House committee handling South Asia, as saying. (ANI)

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