Two top lawmakers have accused Pakistan of supporting terrorism and urged the Trump administration to cut military aid to the country, saying the US should make it more difficult for Islamabad to get its hands on American weapons.
During a Congressional hearing this week, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Ted Poe alleged that Pakistan is engaged in terrorism and asserted that the US needs to cut its military assistance to it. “We need to go on the record here, on this part of our government, to say that we’re not going to be providing weapons to countries like Pakistan that we’re afraid will shoot down our own people and afraid we know they’re engaged in terrorism,” Rohrabacher said during a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade hearing on Foreign Military Sales.
“We know what they’ve done now. They still hold Dr. Afridi (who helped locate Osama bin Laden)…in a dungeon,” he said.
“We should be facilitating our support and our weapons systems to countries like Egypt that are fighting this threat to Western civilisation, to all of civilisation. And we should make it more difficult not less difficult for countries like Pakistan to get their hands on American weapons,” Rohrabacher asserted.
Congressman Ted Poe, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade, said that the US is having the issue with Pakistan whether “they’re loyal or playing us for years on the issue of aid” to Pakistan and sales to Pakistan.
“We were concerned about the Pakistanis scrambling F-16s that we made and sold to the Pakistanis so that they wouldn’t shoot down Americans who were doing the job of taking out this terrorist. I personally think Pakistan plays the United States because they turn to China if we don’t help them,” Poe said.
“I understand all that. They have nuclear weapons and we want to have a relationship with them so that they don’t look to China. I get all that. But are we doing anything different on sales to Pakistan to make sure those sales of whatever it is aren’t used against us directly or used against us indirectly because of the military helping the Taliban in Afghanistan where were have our troops and those weapons could be used against the United States?” he asked.
“Are we doing anything different to make sure that doesn’t happen or are we still using the same formula,” Poe questioned.
Tina Kaidanow, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Political-Military Affairs, told lawmakers that with Pakistan the United States has a robust end use monitoring programme, to ensure that the items that it provides to them are used appropriately and within the boundaries of what the US has asked them to accomplish.
“We regard Pakistan as an important partner on counter-terrorism issues. They will be essential in bringing the Afghan Taliban to the table for peace talks. There are a number of things where we need their cooperation and their assistance,” Kaidanow said.
“We do want to help them on the counter-terrorism front. But on the other hand, again, we have very big concerns that we continuously front with them on support for Haqqani, on support for other things. This has been made clear to the Pakistani government at the highest levels,” the senior State Department official said.