WASHINGTON, Sep 29 (APP): A Republican lawmaker’s proposal to cutoff funds to Pakistan on the ground that some of its policies have been contrary to U.S. interests was roundly defeated in the House of Representatives, an action welcomed by Pakistani Ambassador Masood Khan.
Tennessee Congressman Andy Ogles had earlier this month moved an amendment to the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Act, 2024 seeking to prohibit assistance to Pakistan.
However, the move collapsed in the 435-member House where Republicans have a majority.
The final tally was 298 members — both Democrats and Republicans — voting against Congressman Ogles’s amendment, while 132 cast ‘yes’ votes, an overwhelming rejection of the anti-Pakistan move.
Preceding the vote was an intense debate during which Democratic Congresswomen — Sheila Jackson Lee and Barbara Lee — vigorously opposed Congressman Ogles’s proposal, and called for maintaining U.S. assistance to Pakistan.
Ms. Jackson termed the move as misguided, saying “What my colleague speaks of does not reflect government and people of Pakistan” as over the decades both countries have built a multifaceted and diverse relationship driven by cooperation in areas such as defence, counterterrorism, trade, investment, agriculture, energy, climate, health, and education.
“During the intense phases of the Afghan war, many Pakistani soldiers lost their lives fighting terrorism.” Ms.Jackson said.
“Our cooperation, she said, was rooted in our shared democratic values. “Today, the bilateral relationship is moving in the right direction.”
Congresswoman Barbara Lee said it was essential to maintain stability in the region, address extremism and promote peace and security.
“Our aid and assistance to Pakistan is not just strategically significant but is also a reflection of our humanitarian concern for those who’ve suffered from such devastation”, referring to the climate-induced floods in Pakistan,
In the fiscal year 2024, $135 million had been earmarked for Pakistan which would be spent for economic support, counter narcotics, military education and training, counter terrorism and a health programme.
Promoting his proposal, Congressman Ogles criticized former Prime Minister Imran Khan for welcoming the Taliban’s victory in August 2021 and praising them for breaking the shackles of slavery.
In his rambling speech, he also leveled baseless accusations against Pakistan dating back to the period before 2021.
Contacted by APP After the rout of Ogles’s proposal, Ambassador Masood Khan expressed his thanks to all US lawmakers who voted against the amendment and stood for bolstering Pakistan-US ties.
“Pakistan-US relations are on a positive, ascending trajectory and are poised to grow in all fields,” the Pakistani envoy said. “Such moves can’t create disruption or distraction; both sides will stay the course.”