Changes needed in bills By Ahmer Bilal Soofi
Dawn, 01 Jul, 2009
The Kerry-Lugar and Berman bills are being moved simultaneously in the Senate and House of Representatives. A joint committee of legislators from both the houses shall then sit and merge them to enact what is likely to be called a PEACE Act through which Pakistan shall be given an annual aid package.
Both these bills contain several conditions as a prerequisite for aid to Pakistan. However, the text of both bills leave out certain necessary provisions that are expected in a country-specific legislation of this nature. Here I intend to collectively review the text of both bills and also propose the inclusion of certain issues.
The draft law that would be eventually adopted after merging the Kerry Lugar and Berman bills must contain a provision to respect the sovereignty of Pakistan. Right now such a statement is missing. The US government needs to recognise the territorial integrity and political independence of Pakistan. The US government should in legislative language assure Pakistanis that it shall not implement this act in any manner that may affect the territorial integrity and political independence of the state. Such a statement is almost customary in extra-territorial legislation. It would have not only legal value but also enormous political value for Pakistanis.
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