Two influential Congressional sub-committees will hold a joint hearing on Pakistan’s commitment in the fight against terrorism, and the review of the US’ aid to it even as a Congressman expressed doubts over its commitment to denying terrorists safe harbour. An announcement to this effect comes nearly three months after US President Donald Trump announced his South Asia policy. “A productive US-Pakistan relationship is essential to bring stability to the region, but doubts persist about Pakistan’s commitment to denying terrorists safe harbour,” Congressman Ted Yoho said. Two subcommittees of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — Asia and the Pacific, and Middle East and North Africa -– would hold the hearing on “The President’s Plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan: Objectives and Resources” on Wednesday, November 8. Alice G Wells, the acting assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, has been asked to testify before the lawmakers, along with Gregory Huger, assistant to the administrator office of Afghanistan and Pakistan in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). “In this hearing, the subcommittees will hear the latest on US civilian efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, determine how they fit into the president’s new plan for the region, and oversee the administration’s resourcing decisions,” said Yoho, Chairman of Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee.
Now that the administration has unveiled its Afghanistan strategy and decided to suspend a significant amount of aid to Pakistan, this hearing will allow members to review the approximate USD 1.1 billion combined FY 2018 budget request for the two countries, Congresswoman Elena Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the Middle east and North Africa Subcommittee said. This hearing will also explore ongoing challenges in Afghanistan, including combating the Taliban, corruption, economic woes, and a lack of prioritisation of counter- narcotics efforts, as well as Pakistan’s performance in preventing terrorist groups from establishing safe havens, and assess whether the budget request is meeting US priorities, she said.