US denies certification to Pak for anti-terror action

Washington: The United States denied certifying Pakistan’s role in countering terrorism and said no fresh request had been sent to Congress for assistance to that country.

US ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson had announced last week Congress had notified a civilian assistance of $532 million for Pakistan, according to the Pakistani finance ministry.

The certificate that the US reportedly signed was to disburse funds under the Kerry-Lugar Bill for civilian aid to Pakistan that was co-authored by Kerry in 2009.

News reports suggested this aid was cleared after US state department certified, as is the legal provision, that Pakistan had met all necessary conditions, including on terror.

“Congress has not been notified of a request (for fresh assistance for Pakistan),” said state department spokesperson Jen Psaki on Monday. She also dismissed suggestions in reports implying US “approval of progress made” by the US.

Dealing with aid requests in the past, Psaki said, the state department “employed the national interest waiver provided for in the legislation in part because all the criterion … required to be met to be met has not been met”.

It is still not clear where that leaves $532 million assistance announced by the US ambassador.

Reacting to the earlier reports, India had said it does “not believe that Pakistan is showing sustained commitment or making significant effort or ceasing support or dismantling bases of operations of the Laskhar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, the Haqqani network and quite possibly the al-Qaeda.”

Significantly, the Kerry-Lugar Bill lapsed in September 2014, but only about half of the $7.5 billion outlay has been disbursed so far.

The Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act (John Kerry was then a senator) had originally conditioned security aid only. But since 2012, all financial assistance to Pakistan has been made contingent upon state department certification.

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