US to consider Pak aid bill next week

US to consider Pak aid bill next week

The Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement (PEACE) Act 2009, sponsored by Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Howard Berman, would be considered by the House next week along with several other bills, Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, said.

The PEACE Act imposing stiff conditions on Pakistan, which is being opposed by Islamabad, was passed by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on May 20 by voice vote.

It requires Pakistan to provide "direct access to Pakistani nationals" connected to proliferation networks and "cease support, including by any elements within the Pakistan military or its intelligence agency, to extremist and terrorist groups" and "prevent cross-border attacks into neighboring countries" as conditions to US security assistance.

The PEACE Act (HR 1886) triples US economic assistance to Pakistan to USD 1.5 billion a year, with a particular focus on strengthening democratic institutions, promoting economic development and improving Pakistan's public education system, with an emphasis on access for women and girls.

It also establishes a permanent Pakistan Democracy and Prosperity Fund for non-military assistance, which demonstrates America's long-term commitment to Pakistan's democratic future.