WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Obama administration will work with Congress to create the right kind of measures of performance for US assistance to Pakistan in order to help its democratic government effectively address the menace of violent extremism. Appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Clinton voiced her concern over spreading influence of the Taliban in the northewestern areas but cautioned that any conditions to the US assistance should encourage and not stop anti?terrorism cooperation from the South Asian country.
She acknowledged the democratic government’s commitment to fighting terrorism at the hearing, chaired by House Committee chairman Representative Howard Berman, a Californian Democrat.
“We are creating measures of performance that we will share with Congress so that we can follow whether we or not we are getting the positive outcome that we are attempting to achieve,” she said in response to questions about the administration’s plans to expand economic assistance for the country to $ 1,5 billion annually.
The chief US diplomat said as the administration works to “develop with Congress the kind of conditional statement that we want, we just have to be careful that what we put in the legislation, does not stop the cooperation, instead of urther cooperation.”
At the same time, she stated: “We are not interested in putting money into doing what has not worked.”
In this respect, she observed that the situation has deteriorated in the last eight years in Pakistan and criticized the recent developments in Swat.
“But we are convinced that the democratically elected government in Pakistan shares our goals with respect to the terrorist threat. We have just to figure out how we can best support them in actually getting results.”
Co?chair of Pakistan congressional caucus Sheila Jackson Lee expressed her concern over rising trends of militancy and suggested that Pakistan must have a strong unified government to fight the menace effectively.
Responding to her comments, Clinton said it is Pakistan’s business how they constitute their government but called for delivering the government services to the people in remote historically ungoverned areas to offset the Taliban influence.
The people in remote areas, Clinton added, complain that the “judiciary system is corrupt and does not work.”
“The government of Pakistan, however, it is constituted, which is, of course, their business, not ours, must begin to deliver government services, otherwise they are going to lose out to those who show up and claim that they can solve people’s problems and then they impose the harsh form of oppression on women and others.”
Chairman of the committee Berman has introduced a legislative measure on authorizing about $ 10 billion economic and military assistance for Pakistan in the next five years. But he has proposed some stringent conditions, which have been called by Pakistan and prominent American experts on South Asia as being “impractical and pro?India.”
“I strongly support your conclusion that strengthening the civilian democratic government of Pakistan should be a central part of our overall efforts,” Berman said in his opening statement.
“In the next few weeks, our Committee will consider legislation to massively expand assistance to Pakistan, including funds to strengthen the capacity of parliament, the judiciary and the public education system. The bill also calls for the Administration to make a series of reasonable determinations to ensure that military assistance is used to meet both US and Pakistani national security needs,” he added.-APP