Cut Pak's military aid, if polls rigged: US Senator

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Washington, Feb 16: United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden has made out a strong case for cutting off American military aid to Pakistan in case of rigging in Monday's parliamentary elections in that country.

Talking to newsmen yesterday, Biden, who heads a three-member Senator delegation that will monitor elections in Pakistan, forecast riots throughout Pakistan if the elections were found to be ''patently rigged.'' In his proposed military aid cut off, he specifically mentioned the sale of F-16 fighter jets and P3 long-range maritime surveillance aircraft. The United States has given 10 billion dollars in aid to Pakistan during the last seven years. Most of the assistance was intended to fight Al-Qaeda and Taliban.

Besides Mr Biden, a Democrat, former Democratic Presidential Nominee Senator John Kerry and Republican Senator Chuck Hagel will constitute the election monitoring team.

Later, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said that the US embassy in Islamabad would also send observers to various locations throughout Pakistan to monitor the elections.

''The Pakistani people should have a reasonable degree of assurance that their ballot will, in fact, be reflected in the results and that the overall will of the Pakistani people is reflected in these results,'' he said.

The Senate delegation will also visit India whom Biden called a ''critically important friend'' of the United States. Mr Biden said that they would discuss with Indian leaders many things, including a peaceful nuclear cooperation deal and the situation in Iraq.


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