US 'certifies' Pak govt's action against Lashkar

Tuesday 06th January 2015 12:45 EST

New Delhi: US secretary of state John Kerry has signed off on a certification that makes Pakistan eligible for an aid package under the Kerry-Lugar Bill. The US authorization has created outrage in India.

The Kerry-Lugar Bill, also known as the "Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009", requires the US administration to certify that the Pakistan government has taken action to prevent "al-Qaida, Taliban and associated terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba from operating in the territory of Pakistan".

The US is set to grant $532 million aid package to Pakistan under Kerry-Lugar Bill to spur economic growth, community building and counter-terrorism efforts, American envoy to Pakistan Richard Olson said.

Olson said the fund would be given for energy, counter-terrorism, economic growth, community building, education and health.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to visit India and Pakistan in January 2015.

In fact, both Obama and John Kerry would kick-off their foreign trips of the year with India, which officials said is reflective of the serious efforts made by the administration to not only strengthen India-US relationship but also to send a message to the countries of the region and other major international players too.

Preparations would begin in full swing this week, for Obama's India visit to attend the January 26 Republic Day Parade as chief guest. His visit would be preceded by Kerry's Ahmedabad visit to attend the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. Thereafter Kerry is likely to travel to Pakistan for US-Pak strategic dialogue.

Experts have questioned Pakistan's intention to fight terrorism given its reluctance to take action against Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hafiz Saeed. Three weeks before the mass execution of school children in Peshawar, Hafiz Saeed, the head of the Lashkar - rebranded as the Jamaat-ud-Dawah - had convened a massive public rally in Lahore.

Pakistan government had provided logistical support to two-day congregation of JuD in Lahore. India had said Pakistan's support to UN-designated terrorist and Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed and his proscribed Jamaat-ud-Dawah was "nothing short of mainstreaming of terrorism."

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