Landmark Biden-Lugar bill for US aid to Pak legally dead

January 31st, 2009 - 12:22 pm ICT by ANI  

New York, Jan 31 (ANI): A landmark US bill that provides for 15 billion dollars in economic assistance to Pakistan, as a US frontline ally in combating terrorism over the next 10 years beginning 2009, is legally dead even before it was debated and voted by either chamber of the US bicameral legislature.

The bill S-3263, popularly known as Biden-Lugar bill or Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act 2008 was introduced in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by its then chairman Senator Joseph Biden and Senator Richard Lugar, and the Senate Committee had approved the bill unanimously; but it died before it could be tabled before the Senate for debate and vote.

An official of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmed that Bill S-3263 is dead as it was not debated and approved by the US Congress that completed its term by the end of 2008.

When Biden as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee presented this bill before the committee and got it unanimously approved in July 2008, the jubilant Pakistan Government portrayed it as symbol of US support to Pakistans return to democracy, The News reported.

Earlier, Biden, while supporting the bill said: From the American perspective, weve spent billions of dollars and have gotten far too little to show for it. From the Pakistani perspective, America is an unreliable ally that will abandon Pakistan the moment its convenient to do so, and whose support to date has merely bolstered unrepresentative rulers, both in and out of uniform.

We need to change this arrangement into the type of normal, functional relationship we enjoy with all of our other military allies and friendly nations. Sen. Lugar and I have worked closely to formulate a bold new strategy for Pakistan. Our bill represents a genuine sea-change - one which will set the US-Pakistan policy on a safer and more successful course, he added. (ANI)

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