‘Do you know why these suicide attacks are suddenly one the rise again?’ asked my friend. ‘No, but I guess you have a reason to justify them’ I replied in a cold manner, wondering when did the attacks actually slowed down.
‘Yes I know it is because of the Kerry Lugar bill. You know, these people (read: agents) are attacking our institutions and people to prove that we are in such poor condition that we cannot survive without aid’.
No doubt this Kerry-Lugar bill aka Killer-bill has become quite the talk of the town and people are now blaming the bill for our basic problems such as the electricity issue without realizing what the bill actually aims at.
On Sept 24, the US Senate unanimously passed the revised version of the Kerry-Lugar Bill, titled the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act 2009.
On Oct. 15th President Barack Obama signed the bill into law which will triple non-military US aid to Pakistan to $7.5 billion over the next five years and hence leaving no choice for Pakistan government to request for any amendments in the bill. The only choice before us is to either fully accept it or reject it on the whole.
Despite the efforts of the Pakistan government to prove that the act would not harm Pakistan’s sovereignty but the fact remains that US government has rejected the concerns of Pakistan and sent back our Foreign Minister with an explanatory note, attached with the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009.
Surprisingly, our Foreign Minister Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi called the explanatory statement “historic” and assured the Parliament on October 16 that no Pakistani authority had been conceded to benefit from the Kerry-Lugar bill. He extensively quoted from an explanatory statement that ‘there are no conditions on Pakistan attached to the authorisation of $7.5 billion in non-military aid’.
Critics say that while using harsh and loud words to get the support of the fellow parliamentarians, what our foreign minister failed to realize is that action speaks louder than words and the people are well aware that he had returned empty-handed from US and thus had to put up this show to save his neck. According to Mr. Anwar Baig (former senator and senior PPP member) the much publicised speech of Mr. Qureshi in the Parliament is ‘nothing but a brilliant piece of acting for which he should be nominated for Oscars.’
Apart from the government appraisal of the act, the main concern of the concerned ones still remain unanswered that why the controversial sections of the act are unaddressed by the Pakistan government.
For instance, Section 203 of the US law considers that Pakistan is involved in the proliferation of nuclear weapons-related materials although it has never been proven in a court of law. The section also presumes that Pakistan is somehow involved in sponsoring terrorism, and that Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies are involved in aiding terrorist groups, including those groups engaged in attacks against the United States or coalition forces in Afghanistan, and against the territory or the people of neighbouring countries.
The act specifically mentions organizations such as Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed and makes it clear that Pakistan is prohibited from letting them operate in its territory, including carrying out cross-border attacks into neighbouring countries. The law further requires the closure of terrorist camps in Fata and dismantling terrorist bases in other parts of the country, including Quetta and Muridke.
Then the message for the security forces of Pakistan is that it must not ‘materially’ and ‘substantially’ subvert the political or judicial processes of Pakistan.
Some other important concerns are, placing limitations on arms transfers; requiring that all assistance can only be provided to civilian authorities of a civilian government of Pakistan; (Sec. 205).
Other concern is regarding the submission of a Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report within 45 days of the date of enactment of the act; development of a comprehensive inter-agency regional security strategy to eliminate terrorist threats and close terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, including by working with the Government of Pakistan and other relevant governments and organisations in the region and elsewhere to implement effective counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism efforts in and near the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, including Fata, the NWFP, parts of Balochistan and parts of Punjab(Sec. 301. Strategy Reports) and the submission of monitoring reports with description of all amounts made available for assistance to Pakistan during fiscal year 2009, including a description of each program, project, and activity for which funds were made available (Sec. 302. Monitoring Reports).
Although the above stated law may seem like a country’s internal matter but this all has been stated in the US law as if the US is dictating and teaching us the laws to run a terrorist-free country. It appears that this does not like an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty to our government.
In the end we must realize that it is all a game of interest and of course nobody is willing to help you for free. The US law-makers have clearly stated their policy regarding Pakistan and have laid down their interests in the form of Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act 2009. It is time now that we decide and point out our national interests loud and clear.