Pakistani FM elucidates US aid bill to parliament.
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.
All KUNA right are reserved 2007.
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