Washington, Feb 24: Two top Republican lawmakers have accused Pakistan of "duplicity" when it comes to fighting terrorism as they criticised the Obama administration for giving away US taxpayers' money to Islamabad.
"Do you agree with my position that should not occur until they stop the duplicity that has continued for 14 years while we have been in Afghanistan?" Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Bob Corker asked Secretary of State John Kerry during his testimony before the hearing on State Department's annual budgetary proposals.
"They (Pakistan) have asked to be able to purchase F-16s. I would rather ask them to purchase from a US company than some other company but they also want US taxpayers to subsidise more than half of that purchase over time," Corker said yesterday.
"We are evaluating all aspects of the counterterrorism efforts with respect to Pakistan's impact on Afghanistan obviously. "I just met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a few weeks ago and we discussed our concerns about the need to rein in particular terrorist groups that are either homegrown in Pakistan or are using Pakistan as a sanctuary. And we have been very, very clear that they have to target all militant groups," Kerry said to a question from Corker.
Corker, who was in Afghanistan a few months ago, said he "witnessed continued duplicity on Pakistan's part, outright blatant duplicity, where they continue to support the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and give safe haven" to al-Qaeda.
"Most of us have been to the Waziristans and seen the tremendous amount of taxpayer money that has gone into changing the context of those areas, but they continue to give them safe haven," he said.
Corker alleged that the Pakistan army is not taking actions against terrorists. Meanwhile, Senator Rand Paul said Pakistan can be described as a "frenemy" - sometimes friends, sometimes enemy.
"But really duplicitous is probably the best way to put it. We have given them (Pakistan) USD 15 billion over the last 10 years," Paul said. "I do not think I will convince you but I think the American people are convinced that we do not have the money to be sending money all around the world when our infrastructure here is falling down and our country is struggling. We just simply do not have the money and it makes no sense to borrow it," he said.
Paul said it is equally absurd for a country to borrow money from China to send to Pakistan.