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July 16, 2017

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US House imposes tougher conditions for defence funding to Pakistan

US House imposes tougher conditions for defence funding to Pakistan

WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives has voted for three legislative amendments to impose tougher conditions for reimbursement of defence funding to Pakistan making it conditional to Islamabad showing satisfactory progress in the fight against terrorism.

All the three legislative amendments to the over $651 billion National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2018 were adopted by a voice vote by the lower house of the Congress on Friday.

NDAA-2018 which authorises the annual defence expenses for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2017 was adopted by the House with 344-81 votes.

The bill as passed by the House requires the secretary of defence to certify prior to making any reimbursement to Pakistan that Islamabad is maintaining security along the ground lines of communication through Pakistan taking demonstrable steps to support counterterrorism operations, disrupting cross-border attacks and countering the threat of improvised explosive devices.

It also specifies that of the total amount of reimbursement and support authorised for Pakistan during the period beginning on October 1, 2017 and ending on December 31, 2018 $400 million would not be eligible for a national security waiver unless the secretary of defence certifies that Pakistan continues to conduct military operations against the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan.

The defence secretary also needs to certify that Pakistan is demonstrating commitment to preventing the Haqqani Network from using North Waziristan as a safe haven and is actively coordinating with the government of Afghanistan to restrict the movement of militants including the Haqqani Network along the Pak-Afghan border.

These amendments were moved by pro-Indian Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher and Ted Poe.

Today Congress took a step forward to end Pakistan’s betrayal of the US with the addition of an additional certification requirement, said Poe, a Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of subcommittee on terrorism non-proliferation & trade.

One of Poe’s amendment as passed by the House proposes to withhold reimbursement funding for Pakistan unless the secretary of defence can certify that Pakistan is not providing military financial or logistical support to any individuals designated by the US as a terrorist operating in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

NDAA as passed by the House now requires that the Pentagon assess Pakistan’s support for known terrorists before handing over US dollars to Islamabad, Poe said.

Making excess military equipment available to federal state and law enforcement agencies along our southern border will provide much needed support and reinforcements to the men and women who are our first line of defence, he said.

But current limitations on military reimbursement funding to Pakistan only apply to one terrorist group the Haqqani Network, Poe said in a statement.

The legislative amendment moved by Rohrabacher adds a stipulation requiring that prior to the disbursement of certain funds the secretary of defence certify to Congress that Pakistan is not using its military or any funds or equipment provided by the US to persecute minority groups seeking political or religious freedom.

Another Rohrabacher amendment expresses a sense of Congress that Shakil Afridi is an international hero and that the government of Pakistan should release him immediately from prison.

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