lawmakers of both Democratic and Republican parties have slammed
the Obama administration's request for $2.4 billion for Pakistan,
calling it a "black hole" where the US has "sunk" $24 billion over
the last decade.
"Pakistan is like a black hole for American aid," Gary Ackerman,
top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs panel on the Middle East
and South Asia said during a hearing Wednesday.
"Our tax dollars go in, our diplomats go in - sometimes, our aid
professionals go in - sometimes, our hopes go in, our prayers go
in," he said. "Nothing good ever comes out."
Alleging that Islamabad continues to pursue its national interest
at America's expense and that of its allies, Ackerman said:
"Pakistan continues to shelter, directly support and sponsor
"Officially acknowledging this indisputable fact might be grossly
impolitic; but that doesn't make it less true. American standing
in Pakistani public opinion is terrible and getting worse," he
Similarly Republican Dana Rohrabacher blasted US support for
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who he said was taking "marching
orders" from Pakistan.
"We should cut Pakistan off of every cent because it has been used
for evil purposes, including killing American troops," he said.
However, a State Department official testifying at the hearing
suggested cutting off aid would be short-sighted.
"Our current discussions with the Pakistanis on how best to pursue
our common interests will take time to resolve, and it's not easy
right now to provide satisfying answers to some questions," Deputy
Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Daniel Feldman
said in written testimony.
But "the fact of the matter is, is that we've been able to kill
more terrorists on Pakistani soil than just about any place else,"
he said citing President Barack Obama's words after the death of
Osama bin Laden last May. "We could not have done that without
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)