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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.
The conditions are related to Pakistan’s support to terrorists and terror outfits, about which several top US officials and lawmakers have repeatedly expressed concern about in the past. All the three legislative amendments to the USD 651 billion National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2018 were adopted by a voice vote by the lower house of the Congress yesterday.
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– USD 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.
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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