Un­fair at­ti­tude of US Congress

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Email: mu­nir­warsi@ya­hoo.com Muham­mad Mu­nir

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.

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