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23 Jun 2017

Bill in US congress seeks to revoke Pakistan's ally status

Two senior US lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill seeking to revoke Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO ally (MNNA) in the House of Representatives.

Republican lawmaker Ted Poe and Democratic lawmaker Rick Nolan have co-sponsored the legislation, saying Pakistan hasn't done enough to fight terrorism.

The Bush administration had granted Pakistan MNNA in 2004 to help US forces fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

In context

Pakistan's status as major non-NATO ally

US lawmaker says Pakistan must be held accountable

"Pakistan must be held accountable for the American blood on its hands," said Poe. "From harbouring Osama bin Laden to backing the Taliban, Pakistan has stubbornly refused to go after, in any meaningful way, terrorists that actively seek to harm opposing ideologies," he added.

Pakistan blamed for supporting attacks on Afghanistan

Proxy war?

Pakistan blamed for supporting attacks on Afghanistan

Experts argue that Taliban-linked militants have been allowed to regroup and mount a resurgent insurgency in Afghanistan, thanks to safe havens in Pakistan.

Afghanistan has repeatedly blamed Pakistan for fomenting instability in its territory.

The US also blames Pakistani spy agency ISI for having links to the Haqqani network, responsible for conducting some of Afghanistan's deadliest attacks.

Pakistan has always rejected these allegations.

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Benefits of MNNA for Pakistan

As an MNNA, Pakistan is eligible for receiving more advanced military equipment through an expedited weapons sale process with loan guarantees.

Pakistan also receives billions of dollars in subsidized arms, military and economic aid.

However, last August, the US withheld a $300 million worth of military reimbursements against Pakistan because Islamabad didn't take adequate action against terror groups like the Haqqani network.

Nolan says Pakistan has ties to terrorist organizations

"Time and time again, Pakistan has taken advantage of America's goodwill and demonstrated that they are no friend and ally of the United States," Nolan said. "Pakistan has ties to the same terrorist organizations which they claim to be fighting," he added.

What does it mean for India?

India's perspective

What does it mean for India?

India has for decades accused Pakistan of pointing the weapons it receives from the US towards it.

New Delhi has also alleged that the US aid to Pakistan is being used to sponsor terrorism against both India and Afghanistan.

Hence, India would benefit if US drops Pakistan's MNNA status.

However, it goes to be seen whether the US will pass such a bill.

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