Pakistan’s spy agency ISI supports the Haqqani network and the country’s government could do away with the leadership of the terror outfit if it wishes, a top US Senator said today as he demanded a reduction in the US’ aid to Pakistan. Republican Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Pakistan was welcome to buy US arms with its own money, but not through the American tax payers’ money. “Pakistan’s intelligence services (ISI) we know support the Haqqani Network. We know that the government of Pakistan, if they wished, could do away with the leadership of the Haqqani Network,” Corker told Indian reporters at a fund raiser organised by the US-India Security Council here.
Corker, who leads the Senate in formulating America’s foreign policy, was instrumental in blocking sale of F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan with the US aid. “I mean we should be reducing the amount of aid that goes to Pakistan because we’ve always said the Pakistani relationship has been one where people have said we don’t want it to be a transactional relationship. We’d like for it to be a real relationship. But the fact is, it’s a transactional relationship,” he said in response to a question. “And that’s not really the kind of relationship that will be. It’s not a relationship you can count upon. We’d like for their behaviour to change and I’d like to see that happen before we spend a lot more money in dealing with them,” said Corker, who would be playing a key role in approval of US aid to Pakistan in the next year’s budget.
The 64-year-old Senator from Tennessee rued that over the years the US had supported Pakistan with a lot of aid and money “that has not really produced the kind of results that it should”. “I’m very disappointed in the relationship. We should be reducing the amount of aid that goes to Pakistan,” he said as he explained the relationship between the Haqqani network and the intelligence community. Members of the US-India Security Council, a non-profit organisation with the mission of increasing interaction between the security communities of the two countries, urged Corker to lead a delegation of Senators and defence industry representatives to India.
Corker said he was looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month when he vists Washington. The Haqqani network has carried out a number of kidnappings and attacks against US interests in Afghanistan. The group is also blamed for several deadly attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan, including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul that killed 58 people.