WASHINGTON - Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani Friday met Senator John MacCain, a key Congressional leader, and briefed him on the progress made in the military operation against terrorists in North Waziristan, the Pakistani embassy said.
Ambassador Jilani told Senator MacCain, a senior Republican who is a member of both the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, that the Zarb-e-Azb campaign was aimed at eliminating all the terrorists on Pakistani soil without any discrimination.
The embassy said that they also discussed US-Pakistan relations.
Senator McCain noted the Pakistani efforts in the war against terrorism and expressed the desire to work with the government of Pakistan to realise the common objectives of defeating terrorism and bringing peace and stability in the region, it said.
Regional situation, including the developments in Afghanistan, was also discussed in the meeting. The meeting took place a day after the US Congress sought to step up its oversight of Pakistan, in particular its counter-terror actions - while approving $1 billion for the next fiscal year - when it asked the Obama administration for a six-monthly report on US-Pak bilateral security cooperation.
In the annual National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2015, the US House of Representative and the Senate, following a conference this week, agreed to place more restrictions and conditions on Pakistan for release of coalition support funds amounting to USD 1 billion for the fiscal year 2015.
Under its terms, for release of US$300 million of the US$1 billion, the US Defence Secretary has to give a certification to Congress that Pakistan has taken actions against the Haqqani network and continues to clean up the safe havens in North Waziristan.
This new certification requirement on release of US$300 million is in addition to the already existing certification and waiver requirement, prominent among these include that Pakistan is taking action against all terrorist networks.
Coalition Support Fund or CSF is not military aid, but a reimbursement to Pakistan for the expenses borne by its army against terrorists in the country. However, the US Congress has imposed several restrictions on reimbursement of the Coalition Support Fund to Pakistan.
The NDAA 2015 asks the Defence Secretary to submit a report to Congress on US-Pakistan bilateral security cooperation, within the first 90 days of the passage of this bill and every six months thereafter till December 2017.
According to the final version of the bill, US$300 million would not be released to Pakistan unless the Defence Secretary certifies to the Congressional Defence Committees that “Pakistan has undertaken military operations in North Waziristan that have contributed to significantly disrupting the safe havens and freedom of movement of the Haqqani network in Pakistan”.
For the release of US$300 million, the Defence Secretary also needs to certify that Pakistan has taken steps that have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring that North Waziristan does not return to being a safe haven for the Haqqani network.
In the report, the Congress assessment of efforts by Pakistan, unilaterally or jointly with the US , to counter the threat of improvised explosive devices and the networks involved in the acquisition, production, and delivery of such devices and their precursors and components.