U.S. Congressman Calls for “Fundamental Reappraisal” of US Aid to Pakistan

Gary Ackerman, chairman of the congressional subcommittee that held a hearing on Pakistan on Wednesday, has called for a “fundamental reappraisal of US assistance to Pakistan.”

Ackerman said, “The United States is at a crossroads with Pakistan. It is clear that despite the deaths of many, many Pakistani soldiers and police, the fight against terrorism has not gone the way we would have hoped. It is equally clear that Pakistan is no closer to genuine democracy and arguably a good bit further away. It’s time to change course and build a new and different relationship with Pakistan.”

In his opening remarks, Ackerman who heads the House subcommittee of the Middle East and South Asia, said, “We have for too long provided the military with the bulk of our assistance and neglected assistance aimed at building and strengthening democratic institutions. I am not suggesting that we cut all military assistance, it is clear that we need to help Pakistan acquire the capabilities, by the way, that Pakistani officials tell me they need. But when I see them using their national funds to purchase F-16s of anti-submarine surveillance planes, I can’t help but wonder whether they don’t have an enemy other than terrorism in mind. The United States needs to be clear that our first, second and third priorities will focus on counter-insurgency equipment and training, whether we are using FMF or authorizing commercial sales, that provides the Pakistanis with the counter-terrorism capabilities.”

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