Congressional panel approves cut in aid for Pakistan

Published March 28, 2014
US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (L) shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (R) on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2013. — File photo
US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (L) shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (R) on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2013. — File photo

WASHINGTON: A key Congressional committee has passed a legislation, which deducts a small amount from its aid to Pakistan and gives it to Ukraine.

The $10 million deducted from the $1.5 billion Kerry-Lugar-Berman annual fund, however, reflects a shift in US efforts to reach out to people of tribal areas. The money deducted from the Pakistan-specific bill would be used to expand the Ukrainian, Balkan, Russian, and Tatar language services of Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty and Voice of America at the expense of the programmes currently broadcast in the Pashto language.

The legislation — HR 4278, the Ukraine Support Act — was passed by an overwhelming bipartisan support by the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee. The legislation, introduced last week by the committee Chairman

Ed Royce and Ranking Member Eliot Engel, promotes Ukraine’s sovereignty and democratic institutions while sanctioning those who have sought to undermine Ukraine’s independence and stability.

The issue of moving funds from the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Bill — which is officially known as the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 — was raised during the mark up of the bill by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“My reading of the bill (HR 4278) is that we’re actually taking money from the Pakistani aid budget and putting it into the Ukraine aid budget instead,” Congressman Alan Grayson said.

“In terms of that portion of the budget, I think it’s broadcasting in Pakistan that we’re taking the funds and applying it here,” Congressman Ed Royce said.

The Ukrainian aide bill authorises transfer of funds from Pashto to the Ukrainian, Balkan, Russian, and Tatar language services for the purpose of ‘bolstering existing United States programming to the people of Ukraine and neighbouring regions, and increasing programming capacity and jamming circumvention technology to overcome any disruptions to service.”

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for further action.

“Russia’s armed intervention in Ukraine and its illegal annexation of Crimea have created an international crisis. The danger is far from over. If we wish to deter Putin from further aggression, the US and our allies must take immediate action to strengthen Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence and target Russian officials and others who are responsible for those actions,” Mr Royce said.

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

Tough talks
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Tough talks

The key to unlocking fresh IMF funds lies in convincing the lender that Pakistan is now ready to undertake real reforms.
Caught unawares
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Caught unawares

The government must prioritise the upgrading of infrastructure to withstand extreme weather.
Going off track
16 Apr, 2024

Going off track

LIKE many other state-owned enterprises in the country, Pakistan Railways is unable to deliver, while haemorrhaging...
Iran’s counterstrike
Updated 15 Apr, 2024

Iran’s counterstrike

Israel, by attacking Iran’s diplomatic facilities and violating Syrian airspace, is largely responsible for this dangerous situation.
Opposition alliance
15 Apr, 2024

Opposition alliance

AFTER the customary Ramazan interlude, political activity has resumed as usual. A ‘grand’ opposition alliance ...
On the margins
15 Apr, 2024

On the margins

IT appears that we are bent upon taking the majoritarian path. Thus, the promise of respect and equality for the...