Clinton actually refused to certify that Pakistan wasn’t aiding terror groups
In yesterday’s Hindu, Praveen Swami scooped the waiver given by the US State department so that $2 billion in US economic and military aid continues unabated to Pakistan.
“In mid-August 2012,” its authors Susan Epstein and Alan Kronstadt said, “the State Department quietly notified Congress of its intention to cite U.S. national security provisions in waiving two certification requirements that placed conditions on U.S. assistance to Pakistan.”[Hindu]
This waiver actually means that Ms Clinton did not certify that Pakistan had met the conditions mentioned in the 2009 Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act and the State Department’s 2012 budget. Ms Clinton was to certify the following about Pakistan.
The certification required by this subsection is a certification by the Secretary of State, under the direction of the President, to the appropriate congressional committees that–
(1) the Government of Pakistan is continuing to cooperate with the United States in efforts to dismantle supplier networks relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons-related materials, such as providing relevant information from or direct access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks;
(2) the Government of Pakistan during the preceding fiscal year has demonstrated a sustained commitment to and is making significant efforts towards combating terrorist groups, consistent with the purposes of assistance described in section 201, including taking into account the extent to which the Government of Pakistan has made progress on matters such as–
(A) ceasing support, including by any elements within the Pakistan military or its intelligence agency, to extremist and terrorist groups, particularly to any group that has conducted attacks against United States or coalition forces in Afghanistan, or against the territory or people of neighboring countries;
(B) preventing al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, from operating in the territory of Pakistan, including carrying out cross-border attacks into neighboring countries, closing terrorist camps in the FATA, dismantling terrorist bases of operations in other parts of the country, including Quetta and Muridke, and taking action when provided with intelligence about high-level terrorist targets; and
(C) strengthening counterterrorism and anti-money laundering laws; and
(3) the security forces of Pakistan are not materially and substantially subverting the political or judicial processes of Pakistan.[Link]
Bloomberg reports that Ms Clinton didn’t disclose which specific prerequisites Pakistan failed to meet. Those details were classified.
The point to note is that Ms Clinton has been providing this certificate to Pakistan so far. This is the first time she has refused to certify that Pakistan is not supporting terror groups. She has instead conveyed that while Pakistan continues to support terror groups, the US considers it to be “important to the national security interests of the United States” to still provide economic and military aid to Pakistan.
The US may be trying to tell Pakistan that by refusing to provide the certification and giving a waiver instead, it has ratcheted up the pressure on Pakistan . The next stage would be the blocking of military and economic aid to Pakistan. But Pakistan is likely to see it differently. The generals at Rawalpindi will conclude that they are absolutely indispendable to the US plans in Afghanistan. They can thus get away with murder while the US will go out of its way to keep the money flowing to Pakistan.