The United States’ budget for the upcoming financial year does not include any security assistance for Pakistan’s military but only civilian assistance programming, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) in a hearing on ‘US Interest in South Asia and FY 2020 Budget’.
As per the statement released by HFAC, the budget request for India will be increased and those for Afghanistan and Pakistan will be “rationalized”.
According to reports, the statement also refers to the February 14 Pulwama attack , saying it “underscored the importance and immediate need to halt terrorist activity in the region,” adding that the multilateral effort in sanctioning Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar at the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee “sends an important message that the international community will not tolerate terrorism”.
The statement also notes that while Pakistan has taken “important” steps to detain militants and seize their assets in recent months, these actions are reversible.
“Pakistan must sustain these measures and expand upon them, including by prosecuting terrorist leaders. The reality is that terrorist organisations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and JeM will continue to pose a grave risk to international peace as long as they are able to operate freely in Pakistan,” the statement says.
Regarding Afghanistan, Wells is expected to say that while Pakistan has taken steps to encourage the Taliban to engage in the peace process, more needs to be done.