Pakistan's Federal  Interior Minister Senator Rehman Malik exchanging views with US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton prior to a meeting in State Department.     — Photo by APP

WASHINGTON, Oct 6: The United States has waived legal restrictions that could have blocked $2 billion of economic and military assistance to Pakistan.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has informed Congress that it was in America’s national interest to do so.

The Obama administration, however, refused for the first time to declare that Pakistan is making progress towards ending alleged military support for Taliban and other militant groups.

“Encouraged by the recent positive engagement with Pakistan, the Secretary has decided to exercise her authority to waive in fiscal year 2012 certification requirements on certain civilian and security assistance to Pakistan. The Secretary has determined that such assistance is in the US national security interest,” a State Department official said.

“It is a critical component of US efforts to continue to build a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with Pakistan grounded in concrete action on areas of shared interest,” the official said in a statement issued here.—Anwar Iqbal

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