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Pakistani FM elucidates US aid bill to parliament.

ISLAMABAD, Oct 16 (KUNA) -- In an attempt to extinguish ongoing controversy

on the multi-billion US aid bill, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Friday

elucidated the parliament on it section by section and emphatically ensured

the people's representative of no compromise on the country's "strategic

interests". Foreign Minister Shah Mehmoud Qureshi rushed to Washington only hours after

his arrival from the United States on Monday to convey the reservations on the

bill expressed by the top military leadership and a day before the parliament

was to begin debate on the bill. The mainstream opposition said that certain clauses of the bill undermine

sovereignty and integrity of the country. They also objected to the language of the bill. However, the military in a statement expressed "serious concerns regarding

clauses impacting on national security."

Qureshi, enlightening the National Assembly on his visit, said that he held

talks with US Vice President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,

Congressmen John Kerry, Howard Berman and Lugar, Admiral Mike Mullen and

Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke. He said he conveyed to them all the reservations being expressed by the

representatives of the people in the parliament and other national security

institutes. He said that the US officials, after hearing his concerns, said that within

24 hours after discussions they will find a way which will address the

concerns. He said two joint explanatory statements were issued by Senators John Kerry

and Howard Berman, which have been made part of the bill. He noted that during his talks he strongly told the US officials that

Pakistan will never compromise on its sovereignty and integrity and will never

allow micro-management. He said that the purpose of the explanatory statements is to clarify the

intention of the bill, "which is to affirm that the primary intention of the

act is to demonstrate the American people's long-term commitment to the people

of Pakistan" and also to "facilitate accurate interpretation of the text and

to ensure faithful implementation of the act."

He termed the bill as victory of the democratic forces of Pakistan that

came into being in February 2008 after about a nine-year long military rule. Responding to the concerns of the opposition on the language of the bill,

he said it is the US congress, which has written it. He said the bill triples US aid to Pakistan, which will be spent on

country's economic, social, education and health sectors. The Minister criticizing opposition members, who demanded an outright

rejection of the bill, said that they asked for "rejection" without thinking

of its implications. It will have serious implications on Pakistan's defense, security, and

economic, he said.

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Publication:Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
Date:Oct 16, 2009
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