Move to link US aid to Pakistan with democracy

Published September 2, 2023
Tennessee Republican Andy Ogles has proposed an amendment to the House of Representatives’ annual appropriations legislation that would cut off funds to Pakistan to discourage the “crackdown on political dissent”. — ogles.house.gov
Tennessee Republican Andy Ogles has proposed an amendment to the House of Representatives’ annual appropriations legislation that would cut off funds to Pakistan to discourage the “crackdown on political dissent”. — ogles.house.gov

WASHINGTON: A Republican lawmaker has introduced an amendment to the House of Representatives’ annual appropriations legislation that would cut off funds to Pakistan to discourage the “crackdown on political dissent”.

Republicans are a majority in the House.

The amendment, proposed by Tennessee Republican Andy Ogles, would bar the US Department of Defence from providing assistance to Pakistan in the wake of an ongoing crackdown by the country’s military establishment and its civilian allies.

The Intercept, a news site that last month published a report about a cipher that led to the ouster of the PTI government, noted in its report on the amendment that “military cooperation between Pakistan and the US has increased again since Imran Khan’s ouster, with the Pakistani military now emerging, by European accounts, as a significant supplier of military aid to Ukraine”.

The report described the proposed amendment as “an extreme long shot”, but pointed out that “its introduction reflects increasing concerns about democratic backsliding in Pakistan across party lines.”

During the debate over the National Defence Authorisation Act earlier this summer, Democratic Rep. Greg Casar of Texas pushed an amendment that would direct the State Department to study backsliding of democracy in Pakistan, but it wasn’t ruled in order for a vote on the floor of the House.

Conditions

The annual appropriations legislation allows the continuation of foreign military financing for Pakistan to support counterterrorism, counterinsurgency capabilities in the country as well as bilateral economic assistance, but prior to the obligation of funds, the US Secretary of State shall submit a report to congressional committees detailing the amount of financing and other support, by the government of Pakistan to schools supported by, affiliated with, or run by the Taliban or any domestic or foreign terrorist organisation in Pakistan.

The secretary shall also inform Congress if Islamabad is cooperating with Washington in issuing visas in a timely manner for US visitors and providing humanitarian organisations access to detainees, internally displaced persons, and other Pakistani civilians affected by conflicts in Pakistan and the region.

The secretary shall also inform Congress “of the extent” to which the Pakistani government is strengthening democracy in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2023

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