US likely to issue national interest waiver over Pakistan aid
WASHINGTON, July 9: The United States is likely to issue a national interest waiver to Pakistan so that it can continue to receive civil and military aid from Washington, diplomatic sources told Dawn.
A condition in the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill requires the US State Department to certify that Pakistan is cooperating with the US in matters such as combating terrorism and dismantling nuclear proliferation networks.
The certification is already due but official sources in Washington say “the State Department is unlikely to issue such a certificate and instead it will issue a national interest waiver.”
A waiver tells Congress that it is in US national interest to provide civil and military aid to a friendly nation without certifying that the country is meeting the requirements included in the aid package.
Also on Monday, a bill seeking to declare the Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organisation was placed before the House of Representatives.
The House, however, is unlikely to debate it on Monday as the Republicans have introduced another bill to repeal President Barack Obama’s healthcare package.
The move has displaced all scheduled items to Tuesday.
On Sept 22, 2011, a US Senate committee voted to make $1 billion worth of aid to Pakistan conditional on action against the Haqqani network and other militant groups.
This explains why the US administration plans to issue a national interest waiver to the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill as without a waiver the lawmakers may refuse to authorise further payments to Pakistan.
The bill, officially known as the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, authorises the release of $1.5 billion a year to Pakistan as non-military aid from the period of 2010 to 2014.
Passed into law on Oct 15, 2010, the bill also contains “a sense of Congress” clause, which provides for extending the package through 2019 should Washington feel the need to do so.