President Obama has signed the ‘Kill Bill’ [Kerry-Lugar bill] despite the reservations of most Pakistanis on offensive language in some clauses.
Pakistanis do not doubt the intentions of President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Senator Kerry. We know they are friends of Pakistan. We just do not trust the Washington establishment. Exhibit A: political conditions embedded in a bill that is packaged as a token of sincere friendship.
Washington rejected Pakistani concerns saying that’s what Congress wants. But no word about the heated and passionate debate in the Pakistani parliament where the pro-US government is dangerously isolated. Pakistani parliament wanted to pass a resolution making the will of Pakistanis clear before President Obama signed the bill. In ignoring the Pakistani parliament and rushing to sign the bill, Washington sent a clear message. America will do what it wants. If it thinks that Quetta and Muridke are centers of terror, then that is it. Pakistan needs to accept it and move on. And don’t dare ask Washington for evidence.
American politicians are smart people. But so are Pakistanis.
The Pakistani parliament can still pass a strong resolution rejecting the anti-Pakistan conditions in the bill and affirming that Pakistan will not be bound by them.
This way, US will give aid to our government at its own discretion. This way no one in the future will be able to say, ‘Hey, you accepted in the Kill Bill that Quetta and Muridke are centers of terror,’ or ‘Hand over so and so nuclear scientist because you agreed to in the Kill Bill’. Pakistan will be able to point to the parliament resolution and say, ‘You know what, we made our position and intention clear and still you gave us the money. That was your choice. We never accepted your claims and we told you so and yet you paid us.’
Let the Americans pay aid with a clear message from Pakistani parliament that we’re not bound by your conditions.
This way, clauses in the Kerry-Lugar bill [Pakistanis are exchanging text messages calling it 'Kill Bill'] that seek to contain Pakistani military and strategic capabilities in exchange for aid will be rendered ineffective. Washington will also be put to the test: Will it still give aid to Pakistan?
After all, if this bill is really a ‘true reflection’ of American friendship with the people of Pakistan, then what’s a few cumbersome conditions between friends, right Mr. Kerry and Mr. Lugar?