Pakistani FM in Washington on Aid Deal Concerns
By VOA News
13 October 2009
Pakistan's Foreign Minister is in Washington to convey his country's concerns about a multibillion-dollar U.S. aid bill that the Pakistani military has said may undermine national security.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is scheduled to meet with senior White House officials Tuesday, including the Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke.
Qureshi will also meet with several members of the U.S. Congress responsible for drafting the package.
The Kerry-Lugar bill provides up to $1.5 billion each year for five years for development, boosting the country's economy and building state institutions. It also provides funds for training Pakistan's security forces.
The bill calls for U.S. officials to periodically verify that Pakistan is trying to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, crack down on Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants, and prevent them from plotting attacks elsewhere. It also calls for verification that Pakistan's security forces are not subverting the country's political and judicial processes.
Pakistan's top military commanders have expressed concern about some of the bill's clauses, which they say affect Pakistan's national security and sovereignty. However, top civilian officials have welcomed the bill, which would triple non-military aid to Pakistan.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
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