US Senate

US Senate introduces bill to defer $300 million aid to Pakistan after drone attack

WASHINGTON: The top Senate members in United States senate introduced a new bill to block $300 million aid to Pakistan after the drone attack on Saturday that killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour.

The aim of the bill is to get a confirmation from the secretary of defence that Islamabad is taking effusive measures to ensure the elimination of Haqqani network from the country. The lower house had also passed a similar bill last week for the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) 2017. NDAA is expected to come up before the Senate for voting as well in the next fiscal year, and several senators are likely to come up with such amendments as well. The current bill proposed an amendment that calls for the secretary to certify to Congress that Pakistan is not squandering the funds provided by the US and is spending them on the required aims of eradication of terrorism.

The White House had earlier expressed objection to the bill and said, “the administration objects to section 1212 of HR 4919, which would make $450 million of CSF to Pakistan ineligible for the Secretary of Defense’s waiver authority unless the Secretary provides a certification to the Congressional defense committees.” The Senate version of the NDAA 2016 has already submitted a demand of certification that Pakistan was taking action against the Haqqani Network. The renewed bill now binds the Secretary of Defence as well to appear before the Congress and convince the lawmakers that Pakistan’s military has been taking needed actions against the Haqqani Network and release funds. The NDAA 2016 ends on September 30 this year. The Pentagon spokesperson said that the defence secretary had not yet taken any decision regarding the certification.

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