Pakistan to US Senator: No Conditions on Aid
By VOA News
13 April 2009
Pakistan has told an influential visiting U.S. senator that Washington should not put conditions on a massive aid package expected for Pakistan.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's office Monday said he told U.S. Senator John Kerry that "aid with strings attached would fail to generate the desired goodwill and results in Pakistan."
Kerry, who heads the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has backed legislation that would triple U.S. non-military aid to Pakistan, to $1.5 billion a year for five years. The measure would also require Pakistan to make measurable progress in fighting terrorism and militancy.
Kerry met with Mr. Gilani and with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad Monday.
The United States and Pakistan have expressed sharp differences over some key issues in the battle against extremism in the region.
U.S. officials say Pakistan needs to crack down on militant groups in its northwestern tribal regions, near the Afghan border, and do more to stop cross-border militant attacks.
U.S. officials have also expressed concern about Pakistan's intelligence services, which have a history of backing Islamist militant groups operating in Afghanistan and the disputed Kashmir region. Pakistan has denied allegations that its intelligence services are continuing that support.
Pakistan has publicly objected to missile strikes by U.S. drones on militant targets in Pakistan, saying the attacks undermine the country's sovereignty and outrage the Pakistani people.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
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