US strings aid to Pak with visas for defence auditors

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Islamabad, Dec.20 (ANI): The United States has stringed the reimbursement of over a billion dollars in aid in the shape of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) to Pakistan during the next six months with granting of visas to American defence auditors, who are supposed to keep track of where the aid money is being used.

According to sources, the Obama administration, in its latest communication to Islamabad, has slapped the condition that future aid money through the CSF as well as the Kerry Lugar aid would be released only if Pakistan grants visas to US defence auditors and other civilian auditors who would be assigned to ensure monitoring for achieving transparency in spending.

The US authorities have so far indicated that it would disburse 349 million dollars during the third quarter (Jan-March) of the ongoing fiscal year while another 950 million dollars to 1.1 billion dollars would be released during the fourth quarter (April-June) of the 2009-10 fiscal year, sources said.

The US has also pledged to provide four million dollars for military education and training in order to equip the Pakistani Army for counter-terrorism operations, The News reports.

The relationship between Washington and Islamabad has hit an all time low in recent days when US officials accused Pakistani authorities of running a deliberate campaign to harass them.

According to US officials, Pakistani authorities have refused to extend or approve visas of at least 100 US officials in the recent past.

Moreover, the frequent checking of American diplomatic vehicles in major cities across the country has also irked the Americans. (ANI)

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