Pakistan Says Cutting Aid May Further Complicate Relations With US
By VOA News February 08, 2018
The United States' attempt to cut Pakistan's military or civilian aid may lead to further complications in the relations between the two countries, Pakistan's interior minister said Thursday.
Ahsan Iqbal was responding to a question from VOA's Urdu service regarding a bill introduced Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives to end nondefense aid to Pakistan.
Representatives Mark Sanford, a Republican from South Carolina, and Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, introduced the legislation to prohibit nondefense aid to Pakistan, saying "Pakistan is a country that knowingly provides resources for terrorists."
"The United States should not funnel money to a government that provides military aid and intelligence to terrorists," said Massie.
Pakistan denies this charge and counters by saying it has paid a heavy price for fighting against terrorists. Iqbal also asserted that the United States is not giving much to Pakistan in the first place.
"Right now, Pakistan is not getting significant military or nonmilitary aid from the United States. Whatever nonmilitary aid goes to Pakistan, it goes to NGOs through USAID [the U.S. Agency for International Development]. The government of Pakistan does not get that aid," he told VOA.
The United States announced last month it was suspending security assistance to Pakistan.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on January 4 that the U.S. was suspending security assistance "until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. We consider them to be destabilizing the region and also targeting U.S. personnel. The United States will suspend that kind of security assistance to Pakistan."
Iqbal said even though U.S. aid reductions to Pakistan did not have any significant impact, steps like those "can create distance between Pakistan and the United States."
VOA's Urdu service contributed to this report.
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