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July 1, 1999
US House sub-panel opposes IMF, WB loans to Pakistan
C K Arora in Washington
A United States congressional panel today approved an amendment urging President Bill Clinton to oppose the grant of loans by international financial institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to Pakistan "until it withdraws its forces from the Indian side of the Line of Control in Kashmir".
The amendment, introduced by Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman, makes an exception only in the case of loan applications relating "to food or humanitarian assistance".
The measure opposes the Pakistani government's support for the armed incursion into India.
The Ackerman Amendment also calls upon India and Pakistan to settle the 50-year-old Kashmir dispute through direct talks, as envisaged in the 1972 Simla Agreement.
The amendment wants the US to encourage both countries to adhere to the principles of the Lahore Declaration.
Republican Congressman Dan Rohrabacher was the only member of the Asia-Pacific panel of the International Relations Committee of the House of Representatives to oppose the amendment. His stand was that the denial of a plebiscite mandated by the United Nations was the root cause of trouble in Kashmir.
In reply, Ackerman pointed out that the people of Kashmir have more rights than the people in the rest of India and these rights are guaranteed by the country's Constitution. Besides, Jammu and Kashmir has had several elections in which people have freely elected governments of their choice.
The amendment will now go before the full committee for approval. Only then will it be taken up on the floor of the House of Representatives.
The original resolution stood in the name of Republican Congressman Benjamin Gilman who is chairman of the House International Relations Committee.
It recommended that US policy should be to support withdrawal of the intruding forces backed by Pakistan from the Indian side of the LoC and re-establishment of and future respect for the LoC, and to encourage all sides to end the fighting and exercise restraint.
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