WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives joined the Senate on Tuesday in seeking to end US economic aid to Pakistan while the Trump administration has already suspended military aid.

A bill introduced in the House said that non-defence aid to Pakistan should also end and the money set aside for this purpose should be invested in infrastructure projects in the United States.

The movers say they are seeking the ban because Pakistan “provides military aid and intelligence” to terrorists, a charge Islamabad strongly denies. Pakistani officials say that the US administration blames their country to hide their failure in Afghanistan where they have failed to subdue an ever-increasing insurgency.

The legislation, introduced by Congressmen Mark Sanford from South Carolina and Thomas Massie from Kentucky, seeks to prohibit the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) from sending American taxpayer money to Pakistan.

Instead, these funds will be redirected to the Highway Trust Fund, the account that pays for road infrastructure in the US.

This common-sense bill puts America first by reallocating tax dollars to roads and bridges at home instead of funnelling money overseas, Congressman Massie said.

“When the American people support other nations, our generosity shouldn’t be used to reward terrorists with US taxpayer dollars,” Congressman Sanford added.

“Couple this with the fact that the Highway Trust Fund will be $111 billion short by 2026, and it simply makes financial sense to repurpose these funds for our infrastructure,” he said.

The move to stop US economic assistance to Pakistan initiated in the Senate where Senator Rand Paul introduced a companion legislation early last month.

“We fail to protect the country and steward taxpayers’ hard-earned money when we support countries that chant ‘death to America and burn our flag’,” he argued.

“Let’s bring that money home and use it to help rebuild our infrastructure instead of giving it to a nation that persecutes Christians and imprisons people such as the doctor that helped us get Osama bin Laden,” Senator Paul said.

The current debate in Congress on the rationale for continuing US assistance to Pakistan followed a New Year Day tweet from President Donald Trump, who accused the country of receiving more than $33 billion in 15 years but giving “nothing but lies and deceit” in return.

Four days after the tweet, he suspended US security aid to Pakistan, hoping that it would force Islamabad to support his strategy for defeating the Taliban.

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2018

Opinion

Editorial

Uncertainty remains in Punjab
Updated 02 Jul, 2022

Uncertainty remains in Punjab

With the latest verdict, the judiciary seems to have unintentionally entered the political arena, which is not desirable.
Turbulence in tech
02 Jul, 2022

Turbulence in tech

THE party seems to have cooled considerably for the Pakistani start-up scene. With some of the world’s biggest...
Environmental cost
02 Jul, 2022

Environmental cost

THE collective impact of climate-disaster-health hazards are already taking a huge toll on Pakistan’s fragile...
Udaipur killing
Updated 01 Jul, 2022

Udaipur killing

The crime committed in Udaipur did not happen in a vacuum.
Unacceptable demand
Updated 01 Jul, 2022

Unacceptable demand

Negotiating with extremists is tricky; no peace treaty with them has lasted beyond a few months.
Tough times ahead
01 Jul, 2022

Tough times ahead

THE finance ministry’s projection of 15pc inflation, much higher than the targeted rate of 11.5pc, during the new...