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U.S. government seeking change in bill linking Pakistan aid to anti-terror effort

U.S. government seeking change in bill linking Pakistan aid to anti-terror effort

The U.S. administration will press Congress to drop a provision in a new bill linking military assistance for Pakistan to its commitment to fighting terrorism, an American official said Friday.
The provision, which would require U.S. President George W. Bush to certify that Pakistan is doing all it can to counter the Taliban and al-Qaida before further financial aid is released to the country's military, could irritate relations between Washington and a key ally in its war on terrorism.
Concern about the bill's impact has surfaced in Pakistan ahead of a visit by a congressional delegation led by Nancy Pelosi, the new House speaker under whom the bill, designed to implement recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, was introduced.
While the bill has already passed the House of Representatives, the Bush administration is optimistic that it can persuade lawmakers to drop the provision before it becomes law, visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State John Gastright said.
"The president can certify that. The issue is, he shouldn't have to," Gastright told reporters in Islamabad. "We'll want to work with her (Pelosi) so that she realizes that that provision is not necessary." The Senate has not yet considered the bill.
Gastright said other aspects of the bill that relate to Pakistan underline the U.S. government's support for Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.


Updated : 2021-03-08 12:01 GMT+08:00