US Congress looks forward to long-term sustained relationship with Pakistan

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Washington, July 26 : United States Congress looks forward to having a long-term sustained relationship with Pakistan, and would help it in its democratic and economic development.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has said US Congress leaders would discuss with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ways to assist the elected government's efforts for democratic and economic development.

Lee, who co-chairs the Pakistani Caucus on the Capitol Hill, said that she was confident of progress on pending bills, including the Biden-Lugar Bill that would approve 7.5 billion dollars in assistance for socio-economic development to benefit Pakistanis over the next five years.

"I think the US Congress is very supportive of the region, Pakistan and its neighbours. I believe there is a very good chance. The prime minister's visit will be very important, his meetings with members of the Congress will be equally important. I believe we have indicated that the US Congress continues to believe that we are friends of the Pakistani people. We want to work with the Pakistani people and see them move towards democracy, protection of human rights and economic development," the Daily Times quoted him, as saying.

Gilani is expected to meet US President George W Bush at the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney and other senior administration leaders during his three-day visit to America.

In a clear demonstration of bipartisan support for Pakistan, the top leadership in the Democratic Congress would also host the Pakistani leader on Capitol Hill.

The seasoned legislator also hinted at Congressional help in Pakistan's endeavour to meet energy and food challenges. "These are discussions that I hope we will have with the prime minister, we want to hear what his concerns are and then we will be able to work on the kind of legislative vehicle that can be helpful."

The democratic lawmaker said that the bipartisan bill recently introduced by Senators Joseph Biden and Richard Lugar on tripling economic assistance for Pakistan to 1.5 billion dollars annually over next 10 years would certainly be received very warmly, as there is an opportunity to move this bill forward.

ANI

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