The House Foreign Affairs Committee today moved forward with a draft resolution demanding a number of new concessions from the Pakistani government, threatening to withdraw yet more aid from the nation unless Pakistan ends the delay for US ‘counter-terror’ visas, and offers proof that all the weapons provided by the US won’t be used in any wars except for against the tribal militant factions.
The centerpiece demand, however, is that Pakistan immediately allow the US access to the wives of Osama bin Laden, who were detained after the al-Qaeda leader’s killing in early May.
Of course the US already cut $800 million earlier this month, with Pakistan looking for other sources of military aid. That could just be a drop in the bucket, however of the billions the US provides annually and the constant pledges of escalated aid.
That aid is particularly valuable to the Zardari government right now, with soaring military costs and a widening budget deficit leaving the nation on the verge of bankruptcy. Zardari has taken considerable flack over the perception that he is a US “puppet.” It remains to be seen how he reacts if the money that comes with that role dries up.