A bipartisan bill revoking Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO ally (MNNA) of the United States has been tabled in the House of Representatives as punishment for the South Asian country's failure to effectively fight terrorism.
MNNA status was granted to Pakistan in 2004 by President George W Bush in an effort to get that Islamic country's support in the US Government's fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
MNNA status is significant, granting critical benefits in the areas of foreign aid and defense cooperation that amounts to millions of dollars. A MNNA country is eligible for priority delivery of defense material, an expedited arms sale process, and a U.S. loan guarantee program, which backs up loans issued by private banks to finance arms exports. It can also stockpile U.S. military hardware, participate in defense research and development programs, and be sold more sophisticated weaponry.
In August last year, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter had withheld $300 million in military reimbursements because he could not certify that Pakistan was taking adequate action against the Haqqani network, as required by the NDAA.
The Bill was introduced Thursday by Republican Ted Poe and Democrat Rick Nolan. "Pakistan must be held accountable for the American blood on its hands," Poe said.
Poe, who is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade, sounded more radical in his approach to the future of US-Pak ties. He called for "a clean break with Pakistan", which has acted for years "as a Benedict Arnold ally of the United States."
"The billions of dollars we have sent to Pakistan over the last 15 years has done nothing to effectively fight terrorism and make us safer," Nolan said. It is time to wake up to the fact that Pakistan has ties to the same terrorist organizations which they claim to be fighting, he added.
by RTT Staff Writer
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