Two Republican members of the US House of Representatives on Monday moved a legislation to prohibit the state department and its development agency, the USAID, from giving aid to Pakistan over its support for terrorism. The bill calls for the diversion of that money towards building infrastructure in the US.
“When the American people support other nations, our generosity shouldn’t be used to reward terrorists with US taxpayer dollars,” congressman Mark Sanford said while introducing the bill with colleague Thomas Massie.
“The United States should not funnel money to a government that provides military aid and intelligence to terrorists,” said Massie. “This common-sense bill puts America first by reallocating tax dollars to our roads and bridges at home instead of funnelling money overseas.”
A companion bill was moved in the US senate in January by Republican Rand Paul, whose plan to introduce the legislation was backed by President Donald Trump.
Introducing the bill, Paul had said: “Let’s bring that money home and use it to help rebuild our infrastructure instead of giving it to a nation that persecutes Christians and imprisons people such as the doctor that helped us get Osama bin Laden.”
He was referring to Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA in the operation that led to locating and executing Osama bin Laden in 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Afridi has since been jailed by Pakistani authorities and has been cast as a traitor.
The Trump administration has already announced it was suspending nearly $2 billion in security-related aid to Pakistan, citing its continued failure to act decisively against terrorists operating from its soil. Pakistan has received $33 billion in security and civilian aid since 2002.
The US could consider ending a suspension of security assistance to Pakistan if it takes “decisive and sustained” actions against militant groups in the country, the state department’s number two official said on Tuesday.
“We may consider lifting the suspension when we see decisive and sustained actions to address our concerns, including targeting all terrorist groups operating within its territory, without distinction,” deputy secretary of state John Sullivan told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.