Unfair attitude of US Congress
In the last one year there has been a substantive improvement in Pakistan’s internal security dimension and its economy has also shown some stability. The progress on the implantation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has also been satisfactory. Peace and harmony now prevails in the troubled areas of Balochistan, Karachi and FATA. With the arrest of RAW’s agent Kul Bushan Yadav in March 2016 in Balochistan has proved that India was involved in destabilising Pakistan. All these positive developments are not liked by some forces who have started a propaganda campaign against Pakistan.
In the international media there has been appearance of series of reports and articles questioning Pakistan’s role in countering terrorism. The main purpose of these reports is to disrupt the sale of eight F-16s fighters to Pakistan that US administration promised with the main purpose of enhancing Pakistan’s capacity to fight terrorism. Initially, the deal for the sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan was to be partially funded through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) with the US providing $430 million, while the remaining amount of $270million was to be paid by Pakistan from its national resources. But after the Congressional hold on subsidising the sale through FMF, the US administration asked Pakistan to make a commitment to buy the jets from its own money. But the Govt of Pakistan has refused to make any pledge unless the restriction on financing through FMF was lifted.
Republican Senator Bob Corker stated on May 2, 2016 that he would use his authority as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to bar use of any U.S. funds for the deal to send a message to Pakistan that it needed to do more in the war against militants. Corker’s stance reflected deep unhappiness among both Democrats and Republicans in Congress who seems to be influenced by the Indian propaganda that the sale of F16s to Pakistan will not help in combating terrorism. India’s displeasure with the deal is the main cause of unfair attitude of US Congress towards Pakistan. It is a matter of great concern for Pakistan that in spite of acknowledgement of the whole World about Pakistan’s substantive contribution in countering terrorism, the attitude of some members of the US congress is very unfair.
According to a news report appeared in the press on May 6, 2016, the US Congress has started a process to block $450 million in aid to Pakistan in case it fails to fulfil its commitment in taking action against the Haqqani network. There is a provision in the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) on the basis of which the US government has the power to waive this condition in “national interest”. However, according to NDAA 2017 as passed by the House Armed Services Committee on April 28,2016, of the total amount of reimbursement and support authorised for Pakistan during the period beginning on October 1, 2016, and ending on December 31, 2017, $450 million would not be eligible for a national security waiver unless the US Secretary of Defence certifies that Pakistan continues to conduct military operations against the Haqqani network in North Waziristan. It is interesting to note that the move came days after the US told Pakistan to put forward its national funds to buy eight F-16s worth $700 million as some top US Senators put a hold to partial funding through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF).
The move of US congress to cooperate with Pakistan on counter-terrorism with pre-conditions seems very irrelevant and unjustified. It makes no sense to demand Pakistan to do things which it has already been doing and is committed to do in the future as well. There is no doubt that today Pakistan is a success story as for as the war on terrorism is concerned. Further, its counter-terrorism efforts are now being recognized internationally. Some anti-Pakistan forces are not happy on the successes of Pakistan especially the Indian lobby in the US. Therefore, all such moves by the US Congress supported by a recent international media campaign against Pakistan should be seen in this perspective and counter measures be taken accordingly. — The writer is Research Fellow at Islamabad Policy Research Institute, a think-tank based in Islamabad.