It is in the U.S.’ interest to continue providing aid to Pakistan, according to the Asian country’s ambassador to the United States, warning that cutting off aid to his country sends a message that the United States doesn’t care.
“Shutting it down or stopping it is likely to have an adverse impact on our relationship that we can do without,” Ambassador Husain Haqqani said, according to USA Today.
The relationship between the United States and Pakistan has grown increasingly tense in the past months, particularly after al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was found and killed near a Pakistani military town. There have been various calls from U.S. lawmakers to re-evaluate or suspend U.S. aid to Pakistan until the latter can prove its willingness to cooperate with U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region. And at a recent GOP presidential hopefuls’ debate, Pakistan was a top topic.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Pakistan “[doesn’t] deserve our foreign aid” while Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney backed a re-evaluation of U.S.-Pakistan relations. Rick Santorum and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachman, meanwhile, urged for caution in deciding on whether U.S. aid to the country should continue.
At a breakfast meeting hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday (Nov. 16), Haqqani acknowledged the complex relationship between the two countries. But cutting off U.S. aid to Pakistan could only make matters worse, he said, adding that the United States provides only a small amount of aid to Pakistan compared with what it spends in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Whether that small amount gets you what you consider to be valuable results is not as important as the effect closing it down will have,” Haqqani said, as quoted by USA Today.
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