Bid to cut off US aid blocked
WASHINGTON, June 14: In a rare conciliatory gesture to Pakistan, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stalled a move to cut off US aid to the country.
The amendment, proposed by Republican Senator Rand Paul, would have stopped US aid to Pakistan until the country released Dr Shakil Afridi who helped CIA find Osama bin Laden.
“I have an amendment that’s very important,” Senator Paul said.
“It’s very important that we send Pakistan a signal that we are not willing to send a welfare cheque when they’re holding in prison a political prisoner who helped us get Bin Laden.
“This amendment is of the utmost urgency — would only require 15 minutes of the Senate’s time.”
He said he would like to work with Senator Paul in the future, and so would a number of other senators, “but there has to be a time and place for everything, and hopefully we can have a full debate on Pakistan in the near future”.
The Pakistan Embassy in Washington said Ambassador Sherry Rehman and her team spent the past two weeks meeting US lawmakers to prevent this amendment from getting accepted and also to improve Pakistan’s image on the Hill.—Correspondent