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October 14, 1999
US lawmakers condemn coup in Pakistan
A P Kamath in New York Benjamin Gilman, one of the most outspoken politicians in Washington against Pakistan and China, and who has eloquently backed the Dalai Lama and supported India's position in Jammu and Kashmir, asserted on Wednesday that Washington should realize that it cannot resume a military relationship with Islamabad.
''Although information regarding the coup attempt is scarce," said Gilman, a Republican from New York who is also chairman of the House International Relations Committee, "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's statement came along with a chorus of condemnation of the military coup in Pakistan.
Former ambassador to India, and a soon-to-retire Senator Patrick Moynihan, also a New Yorker, said, "Pakistan is not a stable country," warning that there was a risk that a poor country like Pakistan would sell sophisticated technology it receives from America.
Meanwhile, Gilman said he hoped there would be enough support to oppose the Brownback amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill that would authorize Clinton to resume military assistance to Islamabad. The amendment was to be discussed this week.
Political observers said the coup has dimmed the plans for President Clinton to visit Pakistan and India early next year should the two countries show progress toward accepting international control on their nuclear programs and facilities.
Clinton had also promised to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief a few weeks ago that he would use his initiative in bringing India and Pakistan to the discussion table.
Questions also hang over the International Monetary Fund's impending $ 1.5 billion loan to Pakistan which was agreed two years ago.
Experts such as Selig Harrison at the Century Foundation think-tank saw the coup as a clear success of the fundamentalist elements in Pakistan in thwarting attempted reconciliation with India.
Stephen P Cohen, a fellow at The Brookings Institution, said one reason why Pakistan has been ruled by the military for nearly half its existence was that the rulers in that country had failed, unlike those in India, to nurture a middle-class and concomitant democratic values.
Cohen also cautioned Washington against seeking to resume military ties with Pakistan. Referring how Pakistan continues to be a host to terrorist groups, he added that it was a "dangerous" country.
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