In a surprising move, the United States Congress has passed a defence spending bill which will restrict its total security related aid to Pakistan at $ 150 million per year. This bill has been passed by the US Congress caps the total aid provided to Pakistan for security related issues to a maximum of $150 million which is significantly less than the usual $1 billion per year Pakistan had been getting in the past years under the Obama administration. The conference report on the National Defence Authorisation Act-2019 bill which was already passed in the House of Representatives has now been passed by the US Senate by 87 to 10 votes on Wednesday. The bill will now be sent to the White House where it will be presented to President Trump for his approval.
The Obama administration in US had provided Pakistan with nearly $1.2 billion aid under the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009. This act which was also known as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act had been widely criticised. Pakistan which is known to have supported and provided numerous terrorist groups places to set up their camps had been receiving funds from America. The funds received by the Americans were usually redirected to terrorist groups to terrorize India and other neighbouring countries. The country had become breeding grounds for terrorists who were being backed by the Army and the government in Pakistan.
Trump even advised Pakistan to take action against the terrorist networks. The US President in 2017 while unveiling his new South Asia policy had asked Pakistan to do more against the terrorist groups. But Pakistan’s inability to curb terrorist activities on its soil has led to the cut down of the defence aid. Pakistan had been accused of having terror groups like Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. Anish Goel, part of Obama’s White House National Security Council said, “The legislation reduces the total amount of funds provided for reimbursement to Pakistan to $150 million. This is a significant reduction from the $700 million that was authorised through Coalition Support Fund last year”.
This news will come like a shock to the new government of Pakistan. Soon to be Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will now have to rethink its strategy in order to maintain the confidence of his people. India and other neighbours will thankfully benefit from this aid cut as they will likely have fewer issues at hand to deal with related to terrorism. The only drawback of this new bill is that it removes certain conditions like action against the Haqqani network and other Islamist extremist terror groups. Anyway, Pakistan had never given much thought to these clauses and had always helped the terror groups, so removing them wouldn’t make much of a difference. However, the reduction in monetary and defence aids would on the other hand severely thwart its nefarious activities in the coming days.