Last week the US Congress pressed through with overwhelming support a bill to triple aid to Pakistan as part of a “strategic partnership.” The bill was enthusiastically supported by President Obama.
Less enamoured with the bill was Pakistan’s government, which sees assorted requirements under the bill as an attempt to exert growing control over the domestic affairs of the nation. The bill gives the US power to monitor Pakistan’s military and court system, leading to concerns that it is a threat to the nation’s sovereignty.
“This is less an assistance programme than a treaty of surrender,” MP Ayaz Amir wrote in an editorial piece circulating around the Pakistani press, insisting “a convicted rapist out on parole would be required to give fewer assurances of good conduct.”
While there seemed to be little discussion of the bill beforehand, Prime Minister Raza Gilani and military chief Gen. Parvez Kayani met in recent days to discuss the ramifications, and Foreign Minister Qureshi, currently visiting the US, has been ordered not to publicly comment on the bill. Though the US scaled back the demands it linked to the bill and Pakistan is short on funds, it seems the momentum is in favor of the Pakistani government rejecting the offer of aid.