US arm twists Pak over auditors visa issue

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Islamabad, Feb.13 (ANI): Arm twisting Pakistan over the delay in issuing visas to its auditors, the United States has clarified that the remaining payment under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) would only be released after the American officials get their visas.

"The CSF programme is linked to audits. We have some legal requirements (to fulfil before the release of payments). This should qualify what the CSF is meant for. It was an agreed procedure," The Daily Times quoted US deputy secretary of treasury Neal Wolin, as saying.

Following Washington's stern stand, Islamabad has assured it that it will expedite the process of granting visas to the American auditors.

Wolin, who is currently on a visit to Pakistan, said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has committed to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

When asked as to what was hindering the release of the funds under the CSF, Wolin said it is important for the Obama administration to see how and where the money is being utilized by Pakistan.

"It is not just about giving cheques ... we have to see where this money goes, how it is utilised. We need to audit these funds. We have to have our people here. It is our own legal requirement," he said.

Describing Pakistan's economy as "relatively stable" compared to last year, Wolin highlighted the need for increasing the country's revenue further.

He said Pakistan's abysmal tax-to-GDP ratio needed immediate attention, and also called for bringing new sector under the tax net. (ANI)

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