Washington: A proposed new law that has the White House’s approval is a problem for Pakistan if interruptions to the US/Nato ground supply route through Pakistan continue.
In addition, the US National Defence Authorisation Bill of 2014 seeks a certification from the US defence secretary that Pakistan is taking demonstrable actions against Al Qaeda and other militant groups active along the Pak-Afghan border.
The development comes on the heels of Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel’s recent visit to Pakistan during which he was reported to have warned of the mood in the US Congress souring on Pakistan.
The bill, already approved by the House of Representatives, includes a one-year extension for reimbursing Pakistan for supporting the US-led war against terrorists.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the White House noted that “the bill will … support (US) capacity building efforts with foreign military forces, and support contingency or stability operations.”
The bill includes a section which extends funding Pakistan’s counter-terrorism activities for one year with certain modifications.
In a section titled “Limitation on amounts available”, it reduces the amount available for reimbursing Pakistan from $1.65 billion in 2013 to $1.5bn in 2014.
It also says that no amounts authorised to be appropriated by this bill, and no amounts authorised to be appropriated for fiscal years before 2014 that remain available for obligation, may be used for reimbursing Pakistan, until the US secretary of defence certifies to the congressional defence committees each of the following:
The bill also requires the secretary to certify that Pakistan is not using its military or any funds or equipment provided by the US to persecute minority groups for their legitimate and non-violent political and religious beliefs, including the Baloch, Sindhi, and Hazara ethnic groups and minority religious groups, including Christian, Hindu and members of the Ahmadiya community.
The bill, however, authorises the US secretary of defence to waive the limitation if the secretary certifies to the congressional defence committees in writing that the waiver is in the national security interests of the United States and includes with such certification a justification for the waiver.