No US aid for Pak as action against terrorism pending

No US aid for Pak as action against terrorism pending
Imran Khan (File)
WASHINGTON/LONDON, JUL 19 (AGENCIES/IANS) | Publish Date: 7/19/2019 12:06:36 PM IST

 Ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the United States, a Congressional report has said the security assistance to Pakistan would remain suspended pending “decisive and irreversible” action against terrorist groups, reports Business Standard. At the direction of President Donald Trump, the US had suspended all its security assistance to Pakistan in January 2018. This is first high-level trip by a Pakistani prime minster to the White House during the Trump administration.

“Pakistan is a haven for numerous Islamist extremist and terrorist groups, and successive Pakistani governments are widely believed to have tolerated and even supported some of these as proxies in Islamabad’s historical conflicts with its neighbors,” the independent Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in a latest report on Pakistan. The CRS is an independent and bipartisan research wing of the the US Congress, which prepares periodic reports on issues of interest for lawmakers to make informed decisions. Its reports are prepared by eminent experts of the field and are not considered as an official view of the Congress. The latest CRS report told lawmakers that the 2011 revelation that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had enjoyed years-long refuge in Pakistan led to intensive US government scrutiny of the bilateral relationship. It also sparked congressional questioning of the wisdom of providing significant aid to a nation that may not have the intention or capacity to be an effective partner.

The Trump administration has taken a harder line on Pakistan than its predecessors, sharply cutting assistance and suspending security-related aid, said the CRS report dated July 15.

“The United States continues to press for decisive and irreversible action against externally-focused militant groups and UN-designated terrorist organizations operating from its territory,” it said. “Pending such action, security assistance will remain suspended.”

Pakistan faces UK aid cut as pressures grow

Britain’s aid to Pakistan could reduce significantly by next year as pressure on the government grows to cut foreign aid to all countries amidst Brexit crisis, rise in poverty at home and a parliamentary inquiry into aid for Pakistan reviewing aid from 2013 to 2018, Geo News has reported.

A source in the International Development Committee (IDC) of the British Parliament said that its inquiry into the Department for International Development (DFID)’s aid programme for Pakistan will be looking at the general spending of aid in Pakistan but confirmed that pressure on the government had increased to either drop aid to several countries, including Pakistan, or cut it significantly. The source said the final decision in this regard will be made by the government once the findings of its aid programme investigation are released next year.

“The inquiry will likely be conducted November 2019 into 2020 (March / April) on current plans,” a source told GEO News.

According to the GEO News report, UK’s aid to Pakistan for 2019/20 is already down to £302 million from £325 million in 2018/19.

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