Pakistan continues to give a pass to extremists who seek to destabilise Afghanistan or attack India, top US lawmakers have said as they backed President Donald Trump’s decision to suspend security assistance to the country. The lawmakers said that the counterterrorism cooperation had been been central to the US-Pakistan relationship, but Islamabad did not fulfil its commitments. The US in January this year suspended about $2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan for failing to crack down on terrorists on its soil. “For years now, US expenditures for Pakistan have decreased as it becomes more and more evident that the priorities of the two countries are just not in alignment. Over the last six months, the administration has taken steps to sharply accelerate this trend,” Congressman Ted Yoho said during a Congressional hearing. “Though it’s long overdue, the United States is finally facing the reality that the US-Pakistan relationship needs to change,” he said. Yoho said that Pakistan never shared the US’ commitment to eliminate terrorist activity in South Asia.
“Pakistan wants a government in cobble that it can control or no government at all,” he said. “That is why Pakistan continues to give a pass to extremists who seek to destabilise Afghanistan or attack India,” Yoho said while chairing a meeting of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Asia and the Pacific subcommittee. Yoho was joined by other lawmakers in slamming Pakistan. “Since 2001, the United States has provided $11 billion in economic aid, $8 billion in security aid, that’s USD 19 billion. In addition to that, US has paid $14 billion in coalition support funds which Pakistani military said has used in anti-terrorist efforts in support of its war in Afghanistan,” Congressman Brad Sherman said.
Sherman said in Pakistan the military appears to have the upper hand. “It influences or controls Pakistani foreign policy, especially vis-a-vis Afghanistan and India and also seems to play an outsized role even on domestic policy,” Sherman said. Congressman Steven Chabot said America’s relationship with Pakistan continued to be marked with frustration. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said Trump by suspending security assistance has sent a “a long, overdue message” to the clique that rules the day in Pakistan. “The clique that is ruling in Pakistan is a clique of Punjabis, rule with an iron fist. They are terrorists to their own people and they are corrupt,” he said.