US threatens to cut aid to Pak if Islamabad doesn't free murder-accused US diplomat

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Washington, Feb 9(ANI): The United States has intensified its pressure on Pakistan to release double murder-accused US diplomat Raymond Davis, with US lawmakers threatening to cut aid to Islamabad unless it frees him.

It is noteworthy that the US has already warned that Pak-US high-level dialogue would be at risk unless Pakistan releases Davis, who said he was acting in self-defence when he shot dead two men in Lahore last month.

Three members of the House of Representatives drove home the point on a visit to Pakistan, telling Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani starkly that the US Congress was working on its budget and looking for areas to cut aid.

"It is imperative that they release him and there is certainly the possibility that there would be repercussions if they don't," Geo TV quoted Representative John Kline, a Republican from Minnesota, as telling reporters on his return.

He said it was "entirely possible that a member of Congress would come down and offer an amendment to cut funding for Pakistan based on their detaining Davis."

"My guess is there would be a lot of support for such an amendment, frankly, because of the outrage of detaining an American with diplomatic immunity," he added.

When asked if US aid to Pakistan would be at risk if Davis stayed behind bars in the country, Representative Buck McKeon, who heads the House Armed Services Committee, replied: "It very well could be."

In 2009, the US Congress approved a five-year, 7.5-billion-dollar civilian aid package meant to build schools, infrastructure and democratic institutions as Pakistan ended a decade of military rule.

In October last year, the Obama administration proposed another two billion dollars in assistance for Pakistan's military, often seen as the key power centre in the country. (ANI)

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