With a wink and a nod, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has once again agreed to overlook Pakistan’s international transgressions, this time for its continued patronage of terrorism in the region, and waived legal requirements that made its $2 billion annual aid to Pakistan contingent on its cooperation in counter-terrorism, ending nuclear proliferation and building democratic institutions.
Times of India Secretary of state Hillary Clinton is said to have informed Congress, which has mandated the restriction subject to a national security waiver, that she is setting aside legal restrictions that would have blocked the $2 billion in US economic and military assistance. Disbursing the funds is “important to the national security interests of the United States,” she has told Congress.
The waiver is evidently linked to securing Pakistan’s cooperation in the upcoming US withdrawal from Afghanistan and preventing all all-out civil war in the country once the US leaves. A blunt way of putting it would be the US is trying to buy peace in the region on its way out while Pakistan is blackmailing Washington with its ability to create trouble in the land-locked country.
According to the latest report, Clinton, in her September 13 message to Congress, said she is waiving provisions of the 2009 Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act (EPPA) and the state department’s 2012 budget requiring that she certify that Islamabad has met certain conditions before the $2 billion in economic, military and counter-terrorism assistance can be disbursed.
The conditions require Islamabad to have made progress in “ceasing support, including by any elements within the Pakistani military or its intelligence agency, to extremist groups,” especially those that have attacked US.-led forces in Afghanistan. Islamabad is also required to make progress in stopping its extremists from operating in Pakistan, staging attacks in neighboring countries, and shutting down terrorist bases in the tribal areas and other parts of its country. The wording of the legislation, while not mentioning India, makes it implicitly clear that Pakistan has to cease using terrorism against its neighbors. Clinton’s waiver suggests it has not.
One way of looking at the latest development is that Clinton, by invoking the waiver clause, has implicitly charged Pakistan with continuing its dalliance with terrorism. She had previously certified Pakistani compliance even though the clean chit was privately challenged by many in her own administration (not to speak of Afghan and Indian officials) who believe that Pakistan has not given up on its use of terror groups to achieve its goals.