WASHINGTON: Top US lawmakers on Tuesday called for cutting financial aid and imposing sanctions against Pakistan while prominent think tanks said it is time to consider putting Pakistan on the list of state sponsor of terrorism.
“Patience (on Pakistan) is growing very thin,” Congressman Matt Salmon, Chairman of the Asia and Pacific subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said.
Just cutting off the funding is not going to be enough, he said and sought for additional measures.
“Those who suggest giving aid to Pakistan need to give justification for using the tax payer’s money,” Congressman Brad Sherman, Ranking member of the subcommittee joined Salmon and other lawmakers for actions against Pakistan.
Congressman William Keating, Pro India member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-Proliferation and Trade argued that there is little reason to believe that Pakistan is going to change its policies of using terrorism as a tool to meet its strategic needs.
Two of the top al Qaeda leaders have been killed in Pakistan, he said.
Keating that the US arms supply to Pakistan is unlikely to help it in the fight against terrorism, but would arm it to be used against India.
Meanwhile, former top diplomats and think tanks said it is time that US consider putting Pakistan on the list of state sponsor of terrorism.
American lawmakers and experts said Pakistan has been treating the US like chumps.
“They are making chumps out of us. They see us we are being so stupid. It seems like paying the mafia,” said Congressman Matt Salmon, Chairman of the Asia and Pacific subcommittee of House Foreign Affairs Committee. “If I may use an undiplomatic term. We have been patsies,” former Bush era top diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad told lawmakers along with others how Pakistani leadership had gamed the American system for decades.
“Patsies chumps. Most Americans see out of this and yet our so called leaders do not really get it,” Salmon added.
Bill Roggio, senior editor of the Long War Journal Foundation for Defense of Democracies along with Khalilzad called for cutting aid toPakistan and put them in the list of State Sponsor of terrorism.
“Pakistanis are very clever in manipulating us. I have to say that,” said Khalilzad, sharing his experience of dealing with the Pakistani leadership when he served in various diplomatic position in the Bush era including the US ambassador to Afghanistan and the Permanent Representative of the US to the UN.
They reach out to distinguished members of the Congress, they invite them for visits, they charm them, they promise once again and they extract statements from us that are “surprising” in the face of facts, he said.
Asked why the US continued with its same policy, Khalilzad said that Pakistani ability to manipulate by their actions in part had been a factor.
“My experience in dealing with Pakistan is that they will only give you something, when they know that they are going to get something,” the former top American diplomat said.
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said the Pakistani government and the Saudi Arabia created the Taliban and the Haqqani network. Rohrabacher said the US’ aid giving to Pakistan was “ridiculous”.
“People of Baluchistan are being slaughtered by this corrupt oppressive regime. People of Baluchistan should understand that the US is on their side for their independence and self-determination from a corrupt, viscous terrorist supporting regime,” Rohrabacher said.
“Same with the Sindhis. Same with other groups in Pakistan. So we got a regime that murders and represses and is corrupt with their own people and yet we still continue to give them some type of support… absolutely absurd,” Rohrabacher said during the Congressional hearing.
Salmon said he personally believed that as the first step, the US should completely cut off aid to Pakistan. “That would be the right first step. If we do not make any changes, we move some of the other suggestions, state sponsor terrorism, possible economic sanctions. I personally believe we have the worst policy that we have and what we are doing is rewarding thugs,” Salmon said.
On the other hand, spokesperson of the Pakistani embassy in Washington has stated that United States and Pakistan are ‘friends’ and have common goals in war on terror.
He further said that leadership of both the countries have acknowledged sacrifices rendered in war on terror by each other.