US to freeze aid to Pakistan
Washington, Dec 13: Reflecting a bipartisan toughening of stand against Pakistan, leaders of a US House-Senate negotiating panel have agreed to freeze USD 700 million in aid to Islamabad, a move that could put more strain on the troubled ties between the two countries.
In a statement issued late last night, negotiating panel of the House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously agreed to freeze the USD 700 million aid to Pakistan pending Pentagon's delivery of a strategy for improving the effectiveness of such assistance and assurances that Pakistan is countering Improvised Explosive Devices networks in their country that are targeting collation forces.
The House Armed Services Committee said the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the Fiscal Year 2012 also reached a compromise on USD 662 billion Defense Authorization Bill for the year 2012.
Besides stringing aid to Pakistan, the military spending bill also targets Iran's Central Bank and sets new hurdles for closing Guantanamo Bay prison for al-Qaeda fighters.
The legislation will now face vote in both the Houses this week amid warnings by President Barack Obama that he would veto any bill that required military custody of suspected extremists who target US.
Pakistan is one of the largest recipients of US foreign aid, and the freeze, when it is empowered by the Congress, would form only a small portion of billions of dollars of civil and military assistance it gets each year.
But the freeze could lead to greater cutbacks as demands rise in the US to penalise Islamabad for failing to act against militant groups on its soil, who kill US soldiers in Afghanistan.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 13 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 13 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 14 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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