Don’t make aid conditional, Gilani urges US

April 13th, 2009 - 5:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, April 13 (IANS) The US should not make aid to Pakistan for the war against terror conditional as this would be counter productive, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Monday.
“Pakistan-US relations should be based on mutual trust. Pakistan is doing a lot in the war against terrorism,” Gilani said during a meeting here with visiting US Senator John Kerry.

Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking member of the committee, have introduced a bill to provide Pakistan $1.5 billion in non-military aid annually for the next five years to create what are termed reconstruction opportunity zones.

The aid, however, is predicated on the Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton certifying that Pakistan is performing adequately in the war against terror.

US President Barack Obama, while unveiling his new Af-Pak strategy last month, cautioned there would be no “blank cheques” in the aid that would be provided in the war against terror and that Pakistan would have to show visible results.

Gilani also asked Kerry to urge the US government to focus on intelligence sharing so that the two countries could get rid of the menace of extremism, militancy and terrorism, APP news agency reported.

Kerry’s visit follows that last week of Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.

The duo were on a five day swing that also took them to Afghanistan and India to take forward the Af-Pak strategy.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Peterson were among those present at Kerry’s meeting with Gilani.

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