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Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 17:26 UK

Army 'concern' over Pakistan aid

Gen Ashfaq Kayani
Pakistan's top commander, Gen Ashfaq Kayani, met senior military chiefs

Pakistan's army has said it has "serious concerns" about a major US aid package which grants Pakistan $1.5bn a year for the next five years.

The Kerry-Lugar bill set several conditions for the aid to Pakistan.

It recently cleared the US Congress and has now been sent to US President Barack Obama to sign into law.

After a meeting of Pakistan's military chiefs, the army issued a statement expressing unease about "clauses impacting on national security."

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says this clearly suggests a disconnect between the army and the civilian leadership, which has hailed the Kerry-Lugar bill as a success of Pakistani government's engagement with the US.

The army's objections seem to be directed at three paragraphs in the bill that outline conditions with respect to military aid to Pakistan.

These state that:

  • Pakistan has to continue to co-operate with the United States in efforts to dismantle supplier networks relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons-related materials.
  • Islamabad has to provide information from or access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks.
  • Pakistan has to prove that it has strengthened counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering laws
  • Pakistan must prove its security establishment is not subverting the political or judicial processes.

The conditions imposed by the bill have caused a great deal of controversy within Pakistan, our correspondent says.

The army's reaction came hours before a parliamentary debate on the bill.

Pakistan's top military commander, Gen Ashfaq Kayani, met senior military chiefs at the army's headquarters in Rawalpindi.

The statement said that Pakistan is a sovereign state with every right to respond to threats in accordance with its interests.

The aid money will be spent on various development projects, but the money will not be directly handed over to Pakistan.

It will be disbursed by the US embassy in Islamabad.

According to reports, a special unit is being established in the embassy, which will maintain accounts of the aid spent and strictly monitor it.



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