* Legislation will trip non-military aid
* Obama announces move to applause in New York
* Richard Holbrooke says move is “step forward” (Adds Obama announcing passage; Holbrooke; bill details)
By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON, Sept 24 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved legislation to triple non-military aid to Pakistan to about $1.5 billion a year for the next five years as part of a plan to fight extremism.
President Barack Obama had urged passage of the measure to promote stability in a nuclear-armed country that is key to the U.S. war in neighboring Afghanistan — despite concerns the Pakistan military may support extremist groups.
Obama got word of the Senate’s decision while in New York, and announced it at a meeting of donor nations to Pakistan on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, drawing applause from other leaders.
“It was the only spontaneous applause of the meeting,” said Richard Holbrooke, U.S. envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, who called the vote “a big step forward.”
The bill, approved on a voice vote, had been agreed by Senate and House sponsors of legislation passed during the summer. The sponsors were Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar and Representative Howard Berman.
The measure, which has the “full support” of the Obama administration, expected to be approved soon by the House of Representatives.
Obama had also proposed creating “reconstruction opportunity zones” in border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, from which goods could be exported duty-free to the United States. But this was not part of the compromise reached on Thursday.
Pakistan has been struggling to stem Islamist violence and bolster an economy kept afloat by foreign donations and a $11.3 billion International Monetary Fund loan.
The U.S. aid, which must be approved by congressional appropriators annually from 2010 to 2014, will fund a wide range of development projects from Pakistani schools and roads to the judicial system.
While not stipulating dollar amounts of military aid, the legislation sets out conditions for such assistance, including Pakistani cooperation to dismantle nuclear supplier networks and combat terrorists, a Senate summary of the bill said.
Another condition requires Pakistani security forces not to subvert judicial processes.
Anti-Pakistan report launched by pro-Indian lobbyists in Transparency International.
Publication of TI report ahead of Friends of Pakistan meeting is a sheer hostility against country: Fouzia Wahab
Transparency’s corruption report anti-Pakistan: Fouzia
Friday, 25 Sep, 200
KARACHI: Central Secretary Information, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Fouzia Wahab on Thursday strongly criticising a recent report of Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) about corruption in Pakistan has said the report is against our national interests.
Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, Fouzia Wahab said the objective of the TIP’s report about corruption in Pakistan is to influence the public opinion.
She said the issuance of Transparency’s report at such a time, when the meetings of Friends of Pakistan (FOP) are underway, is not only against the government, but it is also against the country and our national interests.
Rejecting the TIP report’s alleged findings with regard to lack of accountability laws in the country, Fouzia Wahab noted that Pakistan is a functional state, where the departments are intact and the anti-corruption departments and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) are also working.
She said we welcome the criticism but the people have given us their votes and we have to protect their rights.
The PPP leader raised a question as to why such a report had not been published in the past and its issuance at the time of the meetings of Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) is animosity with the country.
She also raised questions about the credibility as well as the aims of the patrons and financers of Transparency International.
She said the TIP’s report about corruption in Pakistan is published simultaneously from New York and Islamabad with intentions against the country.
A relevant comment: (source pkpolitics)
…. an interesting story about transparency international, a puppet of imperialist powers. In year 2008 Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA, was given the lowest possible ranking by transparency international on the basis that it did not produce properly audited accounts and was withholding basic financial information about revenues, taxes and royalties. Unsurprisingly, TI’s report was seized upon by the opposition as evidence in support of their claims. PDVSA was a “company of low transparency”, and although TI did not directly suggest that PDVSA was corrupt, they do say that companies that withhold basic information from the public “leave the door open to corruption”.
But TI’s report was wrong. Not just any old wrong. But completely, utterly, glaringly wrong. All the information that TI claimed PDVSA was refusing to disclose was freely available in their Report and Accounts and published on their website and in the press.
This is the reality of TI. How one can believe on such an organization famed for publishing dubious report. Although what could be the aim of TI to issue such statement when Pakistan is about to get aid. Be Pakistani and think like Pakistani. We are so stupid that does not believe in our own men but believe in third world organization and people who can never be well wisher of this soil.
One can read full report by clicking.