Kerry hints at possibility of bill being moved in Senate ‘against US aid to Pak’

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

LAHORE - US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John F. Kerry has hinted at the possibility of some senators moving a bill for cutting off aid to Pakistan in case both countries did not act sensibly on the issue of double-murder accused US diplomat Raymond Davis.

Talking to media persons at the residence of the US Consulate Principal Officer in Lahore, Kerry said he did not want media reports saying he warned that Pakistan would face problems if it did not release Davis.

“I do not want to go there. I am trying to avoid or getting there. But some of things are beyond my control. Two or three members of Congress as you know who have put resolutions to cut off aid. And every country has independent souls. We have been able to hold them,” The News quoted the US Senator, as saying.

“Secretary Clinton and I made efforts and we have been able to get everybody calmed down. But I cannot predict what someone is going to do if we do not have happy or sensible way out to try to do what is right here. I do not want to get into the things that become negative. I think it much better if we just look at the positive what we have. We need to address those feelings to recognise the sorrow of those families and that is what we are doing,” he added.

Kerry claimed that he was in Pakistan, not to argue the Davis case and get him out today, tomorrow or the next day, but for the future of US-Pakistan ties.

“I want to get a process in place where all of us can speak of larger issues and strengthen this relationship. So that is my purpose of visiting Pakistan. Let’s look at the bigger picture, strengthening the democratic system providing real interest of people of Pakistan with their kids going to schools, good jobs, security and freedom of worship. That is my purpose of being here. I am not here for Davis. I am here for relationship. I am here for Pakistan-US future and trying to keep our focus on bigger picture,” he insisted.

The US Senator said he wanted the leaders of Pakistan to understand that diplomatic immunity was not a licence of arrogance and unaccountability.

“None of us is suggesting that diplomatic immunity means that you can go anywhere and you can do whatever you want. It is not a licence for unaccountability,” he said, adding that this was the reason why they were conducting a criminal enquiry into the Davis case, which would be overseen by Congress.

Reminding the US administration’s contribution in helping Pakistan in difficult times, Kerry pointed out that they had finalised a 500-million-dollar Kerry-Lugar Bill, two billion dollars for security aid and 500 million dollars for aid for Pakistan’s flood victims, and claimed that no other country did this much for Pakistan.

“No other country was with the helicopters there to help flood affected people of Pakistan,” he added.

Kerry further stated that he could have spent that money in his constituency in the USA, but that he believed that the relationship with Pakistan was strategically very important. (ANI)

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