In a stinging criticism of Pakistan, the US house of congress foreign relations committee came down heavily on Pakistan and called for sanctions against the country.
NewsMobile accessed the records of the committee hearing headed by
REP. Matt Salmon and Rep. Ted Poe Chairman, House Committee on foreign affairs, subcommittee on terrorism and non-proliferation which had a joint hearing on Pakistan on JULY 12, where overwhelming view was that Pakistan’s intelligence and military were supporting terrorist groups
PAKISTAN IS A THUG, WE ARE REWARDING THEM BY GIVING AID
Salmon said that Salmon said that while the United States has spent tens of billions in taxpayer’s dollars in the form of aid to Pakistan since 9/11, all in the hope that Pakistan would become a partner in the fight against terrorism.
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“Unfortunately, despite this significant investment, Pakistani military and intelligence services are still linked to terrorist groups,” he said.
While the administration and the Pakistanis argue that there have been some successes in the fight against terrorist elements, particularly in Shawal Valley, terrorist organizations with close ties to Pakistan’s military elite have been left untouched to the point of thriving, while Pakistan’s governing elite turns a blind eye.
At the same time, many of us in Congress are unwilling to continue down this same failed path that consists of stacks of U.S. aid dollars without much support in the fight against terrorists to show for it. To be frank, Pakistan likes the United States because for decades we’ve given them a substantial amount of aid, especially to the Pakistani military, while they hope that they can prevent us from getting too close with India.
WE COULD ENFORCE SANCTIONS OR DESIGNATE PAK AS A TERROR STATE
If our current efforts in Pakistan are not producing the results we seek, then what are our options? We could simply turn the money off, saving taxpayers billions of dollars. We could enforce sanctions or designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism. Sanctions were used in the ’90s, but without much effect.
This is for the first time that key US Congressmen and a senior US diplomat has been candid on the issue of Pakistan as a global epicenter of terrorism.
What the key voices said in the meeting
CUT OFF US AID
Committee Chair Matt Salmon
• The United States should cut off financial and military aid to Pakistan’s government, a U.S. lawmaker said this week, because Pakistan’s powerful military establishment and intelligence services have not broken off their links to terrorist groups.
• “Fifteen years have passed since September 11, billions of dollars have been spent and far too little change has occurred in Pakistan.”
Zalmay Khalilzad former US envoy to Afghanistan:
• “It is also clear that the Pakistani military and intelligence provide sanctuary and support to the Taliban. Taliban extremists have provided sanctuary for members of the al-Qaida network.”
• There is no question that Pakistani military and the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, the Inter-Service Agency, supports the Haqqani network, which we regard — the United States has regarded — as a terrorist organization.
• But in any case, as you know, more recently, he has boasted, Mr. Musharraf, that he did obviously help the Taliban and the Haqqani network. But the Pakistani support for these two groups has been a critical factor, in my judgment, in the longevity and successes that these two groups have had against the United States, against our forces.
• And Pakistan has believed so far, correctly, that they can get aid, and billions, and get support and continue to do these things, and that we would not confront them with the choice of either you take assistance or — and you can stop what you’re doing or there would be no assistance.
DON’T GIVE ANY AID TO PAKISTAN
Rep Brad Sherman
• The default position is we don’t give them money. So those who suggest aid to Pakistan have got to show that there’s a strong justification for doing so. The evidence is not encouraging.
• General Musharraf spoke on television in February about how Pakistan provided support for Lashkar-e-Taiba, also known as LET, and to the JEM, and essentially said terrorism was fine, as long as it’s directed at India.
• First, the Pakistani government has a regrettable record of oppressing some of the major components of its country, large minorities, including the Sindh and the Baloch. Free speech and political dialogue are restricted. Extra-judicial killings are common.
PAK HELP TO LeT and Haqqani network undermines US security interests
Rep Bill Keating
• While Islamabad has helped the United States capture and kill numerous Al Qaida members, including several senior leaders in its support for groups like Taliban, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, these things undermine critical U.S. national security interests.
WHY PAK is a FOE
• You properly ask the question of whether Pakistan is a friend or a foe. And unequivocally the answer is a foe. Pakistan may combat some groups that threaten it — the movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, Islamic movement in Uzbekistan, groups like that that are fighting the Pakistani state. However, they support numerous terrorist organisations, organisations that are listed by the U.S. government as foreign terrorist organisations.
• These Kashmiri terrorist groups that have been aided by the Pakistani state base themselves in Afghanistan. I could list groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul- Mujahideen, who the State Department said as recently as 2014 is running training camps inside Afghanistan.
• Ambassador Khalilzad’s statements on the Afghan-Pakistan Haqqani network, I concur with 100 percent. What the Pakistanis are doing — they’re playing a fantastic shell game. They have this narrative called good Taliban versus bad Taliban. The good Taliban is any group that the Pakistani likes.
• We should put a brake on this situation until we can really get a handle on it. Money is fungible. If we’re funding Pakistani education, they could fund Pakistani militants with the money they’re saving. We have to consider sanctions. We have to consider the possibility of state sponsorship of terrorism.
PAK HELPED MURDERER OF 3000 AMERICANS
• I’ll say for the record that the Pakistani government and the ISI created the Taliban, along with the Saudis, after we left when the Soviet withdrew from Afghanistan. Since at that time, the Pakistani government was deeply involved with creating that regime that ended up offering safe haven to Osama bin Laden and the murderer of 3,000 Americans.
This hearing reinforces that the pressure on Pakistan is mounting and countries like the US, India, France and other democratic countries need to come together for a concerted action on terrorism emanating from Pakistan.