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Friday, July 22, 2011

U.S.-PAK TIES: Bid to end U.S. aid to Pakistan rejected!

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AFP / The Hindu / WASHINGTON, July 21, 2011. 

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. File photo
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. File photo - AP.

A U.S. Congress panel on Thursday rejected a proposal to cut off all aid to Pakistan owing to concerns over the country's relationship with Islamist militants after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee easily rejected the measure, with five lawmakers voting “yes” and 39 voting “no”. But the bill in its current form would still impose tighter controls over aid, making it contingent on measurable progress by Pakistan.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican from California, had offered the amendment to a spending bill for the year starting in October that would have barred any U.S. funds to provide assistance to Pakistan.

Mr. Rohrabacher raised questions about how Pakistan was using assistance from the United States at a time when Washington was seeking to curb spending to tame a ballooning debt.

President Barack Obama's administration recently suspended about one-third of its $2.7-billion annual defence aid to Pakistan. But it has assured Islamabad it is committed to a five-year, $7.5-billion civilian package approved in 2009 that aims to build schools, infrastructure and democratic institutions.

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