WASHINGTON: Talking tough, the US has said it would not give a “blank cheque” to Pakistan until it goes full throttle against the terrorist targets, a day after announcing suspension of US$ 800-million military aid to Islamabad.
“We have to show that this is a two-way street, not just a one-way street. They have some obligations,” Defence Secretary, Mr Leon Panetta said.
“They’ve got to help us be able to go after some of the targets we’ve assigned them; they’ve got to be able to give us their cooperation,” he said.
“And they’ve got to know that we’re not going to give out a blank cheque until they show that this is a two-way relationship,” Mr Panetta told NBC News when asked about suspension of the US$ 800 million of military aid to Pakistan. He said Pakistan is a country where al-Qaeda has found safe haven.
“We’re fighting al-Qaeda in their country. Strategically, they’re an important country, particularly because they have nuclear arms. So for all those reasons, we’ve got to maintain the relationship,” he said.
The Secretary of State, Ms Hillary Clinton, on her part, said Pakistan must take certain steps which the US has often outlined to ensure the delivery of American military assistance to Islamabad. “The government of Pakistan must take certain steps, and we have outlined those steps on more than one occasion to ensure that we can deliver all the military assistance that the United States has discussed with Pakistan,” she said.
Ms Clinton said the US decision to pause delivery of this portion of security assistance does not signify a shift in its policy but underscores the fact that bilateral partnership depends on cooperation. “That’s always been the case and it must continue to be so in the future,” she told reporters when asked why the US had suspended the US$ 800-million military aid to Pakistan.
Separately, Pentagon spokesperson, Col Dave Lapan said the US would continue to hold back its military aid to Pakistan till the time Islamabad goes full throttle in the war against terror. “(The delay is) directly tied to those decisions by the Pakistani military to curtail training and to not grant visas for some of the US personnel that we need to get in. If those things change, then this aid will change as well,” he said.