US Senate passes Terrorism Prevention Act 2004
WASHINGTON: The US Congress has called for “assistance to Pakistan on combating extremism, resolving outstanding difficulties with neighbours and other countries in the region”.
This is one of the determinations made by a bipartisan legislative act adopted by the US Congress. The Senate passed the bill last Wednesday 89-2, while the US House of Representatives adopted it a day earlier by 336 to 75. The Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 also contains several other positive determinations in respect of Pakistan.
The bill emphasises, for the first time for a US law to do so, that “Pakistan should be enabled to participate more vigorously in the global market place so as to continue to modernise its economy”.
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Bill provides for strengthening US-Pakistan relations on the basis of a “long-term strategic partnership”.
The legislation praises Pakistan’s role in the war on terrorism and underlines the importance of Pakistan’s stability and progress for the region and the entire Muslim world.
Experts have called it the dawn of a new era in bilateral relations, which became multi-faceted in the wake of close cooperation in the fight against terrorism, in the aftermath of 9/11. These relations were already progressing in the field of trade and commerce.
Earlier, the bi-partisan 9/11 investigation commission headed by Kean-Hamilton had identified Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia as the three major countries of focus in the Muslim world, because of their importance in the ongoing war on terror. It had proposed actions to be taken to strengthen and expand US relationship with these countries.
The legislation speaks of “maintaining the current 2005 level of US assistance”, which at present is $701 million, which was adopted by the US Congress on November 21. It calls for grant of “global market access” to Pakistan.
The enactment provides to “enable Pakistan’s economy” to attain “a new vigour”, and to “continue to modernise its economy”.
It asks for an increase in bilateral exchanges and an expansion of US-Pakistan relations on a people-to-people basis.
The US Congress called for taking measures “that could be taken to alleviate difficulties, misunderstandings, and complications in the relationship between the US and Pakistan”.
A White House spokesman said President George W Bush was very pleased with the bill’s passage in the House and that the US president believed it would make America and the world safer. app