US lawmakers forced 'riders' in aid bill fearing Pak 'insincerity' in war on terror

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Washington, Oct.1 (ANI): US lawmakers were forced to attach strict terms and conditions in the Kerry Lugar aid bill over fears that Pakistan was not doing enough in the fight against terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

While the aid bill has now been sent to President Barack Obama for his final nod following the approval by the Congress, American lawmakers were skeptical over Pakistan's sincerity in carrying out operations against the extremists operating from its soil, during the final drafting of the bill before its approval.

Democratic Representative, Howard Berman, one of the sponsors of the aid, said Washington was concerned over the present scenario in Pakistan and would not allow the Taliban or other extremist groups to take control of Pakistan's nuclear assets.

"We can't allow Al Qaeda or any other terrorist group that threatens our national security interests to operate with impunity in the tribal regions or any other part of Pakistan. Nor can we permit the Pakistani state,and its nuclear arsenal, to be taken over by the Taliban," The Daily Times quoted Berman, as saying.

"Both governments, the Chinese and the Pakistanis, plot and manoeuvre against our interests all the time," said another Republican, Dana Rohrbacher.

The 1.5 billion dollar annual non-military aid package to Islamabad has also received flak from different quarters in Pakistan.

Political parties in the country are criticizing the aid bill for the severe terms and conditions attached with. They maintain that the government has committed a 'historic blunder' by agreeing to the conditions mentioned in the bill.

The focus of the aid is to help Pakistan to give more importance to health and education sectors, however it also clearly mentions that the US military aid would cease if Islamabad does not help fight 'terrorists', including the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

The measure triples U.S. democratic, economic, and social development assistance to Pakistan with a particular focus on strengthening democratic institutions, promoting economic development, and improving Pakistan's public education system.

The measure also acknowledges Pakistan's anti-terror efforts on the Afghan border.(ANI)

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