Washington, DC – Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, last evening introduced bipartisan legislation establishing a new framework for U.S.-Pakistan relations.
“This bill has one essential purpose: to strengthen our relationship with Pakistan,” Berman said. “Our commitment to Pakistan’s political stability and economic development is matched only by our sense of urgency in ensuring that Pakistan has the right tools to protect its people, secure its borders and intensify its operations against extremist elements.”
The Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act (the PEACE Act) triples U.S. economic assistance to Pakistan to $1.5 billion a year, with a particular emphasis on strengthening democratic institutions, promoting economic development and improving Pakistan's education system. The bill, H.R. 1886, also establishes a permanent Pakistan Democracy and Prosperity Fund, which demonstrates America’s long-term commitment to Pakistan. To ensure that U.S. assistance is truly benefiting the Pakistani people, the legislation requires rigorous oversight and auditing.
H.R. 1886 also boosts military aid to help Pakistan disrupt and defeat al Qaeda and insurgent elements, but requires that the vast majority of such assistance be focused on critical counterterrorism efforts. In addition, the bill requires that all military assistance flow through the democratically elected Government of Pakistan. Finally, the legislation establishes conditions on military assistance, including a requirement that the Government of Pakistan has demonstrated a sustained commitment to combating terrorist groups and made progress towards that end.
“The bill was drafted with a clear understanding that we need to create a long-term strategic partnership with Pakistan – one that transcends our mutual counterinsurgency and counterterrorism goals, and speaks to the needs of average Pakistani citizens,” Berman said.