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Bill in US Congress to revoke special status for Pakistan

23 June 2017

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US starting Sunday, two senior American Congressmen a Republican and a Democrat - have introduced a bipartisan bill that seeks to revoke Pakistan's status as major non-NATO ally (MNNA) to the US, saying the country failed to effectively fight terrorism.

Republican Ted Poe and Democrat Rick Nolan on Friday introduced the bill for revoking Pakistan's MNNA status and make "a clean break" from the country that they said had "harboured terrorists" and had "little in the way of being accountable for the money given for fighting, eradicating these groups".

The proposal came just two days before PM Modi will arrive in Washington for extensive talks with President Donald Trump that could prominently feature terrorism and relations in South Asia as well.

"Pakistan must be held accountable for the American blood on its hands," Poe said in some of the sharpest comments in the Capitol yet against Pakistan. "From harbouring Osama bin laden to backing the Taliban, Pakistan has stubbornly refused to go after, in any meaningful way, terrorists that actively seek to harm opposing ideologies. We must make a clean break with Pakistan, but at the very least, we should stop providing them the eligibility to obtain our own sophisticated weaponry."

Pakistan had been granted MNNA status in 2004 by then President George W Bush to get Pakistan to help the United States fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban. It made Pakistan eligible for priority delivery of defence material, an expedited arms sale process, and a US loan guarantee programme which backs up loans issued by private banks to finance arms exports. It can also stockpile US military hardware, participate in defence research and development programmes, and get more sophisticated weaponry.

Nolan said, "Time and time again, Pakistan has taken advantage of America's goodwill and demonstrated that they are no friend and ally of the United States ... the fact is, the billions of dollars we have sent to Pakistan over the last 15 years have done nothing to effectively fight terrorism and make us safer. It is time to wake up to the fact that Pakistan has ties to the same terrorist organisations which they claim to be fighting."

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