‘Pakistan urgently needs $4-5bn’
* Senator John Kerry says Senate bill for $7.5bn non-military aid to be tabled soon
WASHINGTON: The United States and Europe must give Pakistan four to five billion dollars in urgent aid or risk seeing the nuclear-armed country slip into chaos, Democratic Senator John Kerry and Republican former senator Chuck Hagel said on Tuesday.
The senators, now chair of Atlantic Council think tank, were to release a formal report on Wednesday appealing for international help to stabilise Pakistan.
“If we fail, we face a truly frightening prospect: terrorist sanctuary, economic meltdown, and spiralling radicalism, all in a nation with 170 million inhabitants and a full arsenal of nuclear weapons,” Kerry said in a statement released by the council.
Kerry said he and Republican Senator Richard Lugar would soon introduce legislation aiming to provide Pakistan with $7.5 billion in non-military aid over five years.
The legislation, known as the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, would advocate the same amount – which would be triple current US levels of non-military aid – over the next five years, aides said.
The bill would make the aid available on the condition that the US secretary of state certifies that Pakistan’s security forces are making concerted efforts to prevent Al Qaeda, associated terrorist groups, and the Taliban, from operating from Pakistani territory.
The report entitled Needed: A Comprehensive US Policy Towards Pakistan, “calls for an additional $4-5 billion of immediate financial aid for Pakistan to avert an economic meltdown,” according to a statement from the council.
“Given the tools and the financing, Pakistan can turn back from the brink. But for that to happen, it needs help now,” according to the council.
The report “will assist the Obama administration as it develops and implements a comprehensive and strategic policy toward Pakistan and this combustible corner of the world,” according to Hagel. afp