WASHINGTON, July 27: The US Congress has assured Pakistan that its move to designate the Haqqani network a terrorist organisation does not infringe upon the country’s sovereignty.
On Thursday evening, the US Senate passed with unanimous consent a bill asking the Secretary of State to report to Congress if the Haqqani network met the criteria for designation as a foreign terrorist organisation.
The House of Representatives passed a similar measure last week. The congressional measure now goes to Secretary Hillary Clinton, forcing her to either defend the Haqqani group before Congress or to designate it a terrorist organisation.
The Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act, however, seeks to assure Pakistan that Congress does not want to further harm relations with the country.
“Nothing in this act may be construed to infringe upon the sovereignty of Pakistan to combat militant or terrorist groups operating inside its boundaries,” says a clause included in the bill passed by both the chambers.
But the bill also contains references that blame Pakistan for nurturing the Haqqani network, which the US administration says is responsible for killing American soldiers in Afghanistan.
The references, which include quotes from important military and civilian leaders about the Haqqani network taking armed action against the US forces in Afghanistan, will make it difficult for Secretary Clinton to explain why the State Department could not act against the Haqqani network, as the bill requires her to do.