The U.S. government has denied Pakistan’s reports that the >U.S. Congress had cleared $532 million to Pakistan on the >Kerry Lugar Act that needs certification on action against the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.“No certification has been sought for funds to Pakistan, and no funds disbursed since 2013,” said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. A report in The Hindu had quoted the Associated Press of Pakistan, and an official Pakistan government release that the $532 million had been cleared, as reportedly disclosed by U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. In Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs had criticised the reported certification that cleared the aid to Pakistan.
“How the Government of the United States of America decides to spend U.S.taxpayers’ money is entirely its prerogative,” said spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin in an official statement.“However, India does not believe that Pakistan is showing “sustained commitment” or making “significant effort” or ceasing support” or dismantling “bases of operations” of the Laskhar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the Haqqani network and quite possibly the al-Qaeda.”
>The report in The Hindu had also highlighted how the two groups and their leaders Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar had addressed public rallies in Muzaffarabad and Lahore in 2014, the operative year for the disbursement of the funds. The Kerry-Lugar act, as the Enhanced cooperation with Pakistan act is commonly known has seen the US State department certify Pakistani government actions routinely since 2010.
The government also warned the U.S. that the two groups, based in Pakistan’s Punjab state were targeting Indian and other diplomats in Afghanistan as well. “With increasing citings of Punjabi/urdu speaking elements operating with terrorist groups inside Afghanistan, we now also know that these very groups also pose a significant threat to members of the international community working in Afghanistan including to Indian diplomatic personnel working in the Indian Embassy in Kabul and our four Consulates,” Mr. Akbaruddin said.
The issue is likely to come up for discussion when Mr. Kerry travels to Ahmedabad for the Vibrant Gujarat summit this weekend, and is expected to meet PM Modi separately as well. He is also travelling to Pakistan for the US-Pakistan strategic dialogue this month, and while Pakistani agency reports said he will fly directly from India on January 14th, the US Statedepartment would not confirm a date.