Pakistani parliament to decide on controversial U.S aid bill: FM

08:40, October 10, 2009      

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Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday told the parliament that the government will accept the parliament decision about the controversial U.S. aid bill.

The Pakistani parliament is debating the Kerry-Luger bill, which would provide Pakistan with 1.5 billion dollars annually over the next five years for democratic, economic and social development programs.

There are several conditions in the bill about military aid to check the involvement of state intelligence agencies in militancy and monitoring of nuclear proliferation through U.S. mechanisms.

The bill has been passed by the U.S. Senate and Congress as well and now it is lying before the president for signature.

The Kerry-Lugar bill was made public more than two months ago and opposition political parties and allied parties of the government of Pakistan were not happy with the conditions of the bill.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi urged the members of the parliament to be cool minded and dispassionate while taking part in the debate and give in their input keeping in view the supreme interests of the country.

He said that the members of both sides should listen to each point of view so that the government could chalk out a collective plan to protect national interests.

He said the government will never compromise on the country's sovereignty and will protect national interests at all cost. He assured the House that the government will never allow any power to take control of micro management of Pakistan.

He also assured the House that no compromise will be made on Pakistan's nuclear programme that is vital for the country's security.

The Senate also opened a debate on the bill and opposition Senator Ishaq Dar said the bill undermines the sovereignty of Pakistan as the conditions mentioned in the bill are unprecedented that could not be ignored.

He said there is need to ensure transparency and good governance to face the situation as unfortunately "we have lost credibility" therefore the Americans are imposing humiliating conditions on their aid.

"The government should take steps to rectify mistakes and adopt a national consensus policy on the bill that could serve our national interests," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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