US Congressman warns against
C K Arora in Washington
resuming arms sales to Pakistan
Republican Congressman Benjamin Gilman, who is chairman of the House International Relations Committee, has said that the US Congress should not give President Bill Clinton the authority to resume military assistance to Pakistan, particularly in light of the military coup in which the democratically elected government has been dismissed.
In a statement here last night, he drew attention to the fact
that the House of Representatives might discuss later in the day
today a report which provides broad authority to the
president to waive sanctions imposed against India and Pakistan for
their May 1998 nuclear detonations.
''Today's events clearly indicate that Pakistan is not in the
position to resume a full and complete military relationship with
the United States,'' Gilman remarked.
He said he was concerned that these actions by Pakistan's
military, in addition to the recent Pakistan-backed militant
incursion into India, would lead to further instability in South
Gilman said Congress should not provide authority to the
president which allows for the resumption of military assistance to
Pakistan. The FY 2000 Defence Appropriations Conference Report on
the subject should be modified to delete this language before the
house considered the measure.
''I am concerned that the resumption of US defence sales to
Pakistan would only serve to assist those who are supportive of
today's military coup,'' Gilman added.
In a separate statement, Democratic Congressman Sherrod Brown
denounced the Pakistani military's ousting of Prime Minister Sharif,
and called for the immediate elimination of a proposal to lift the
current embargo on US arms sales to Pakistan.
He said, the Pakistani military's coup was a complete mockery of
the rule of law. While hundreds of millions of people in India just
completed their national democratic elections, the people of
pakistan had their government stripped away without casting a single
vote, he added.
Brown complained that American policy toward Pakistan had long
been to maintain strong ties with its military ''to guard our
interests in South Asia.''
Just last week conferees to the FY 2000 Defence Spending Bill
quietly approved a measure that grants the president the green light
to conduct future arms sales to Pakistan.
''I agree with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee that this provision would
indirectly reward the Pakistani military for its invasion of Kashmir
last spring,'' Brown said.
''If we've learned nothing else from the cold war, arms sales to
dictators do not benefit American interests or those of our allies,
including India. Congress must not give the president permission to
sell weapons to Pakistan or any other nation that denies its people
the right to choose their government,'' he said.
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