WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has blamed Pakistans elite for their countrys economic and political woes, while underscoring the need for governmental reform and in the delivery of fundamental services. 'Pakistan is so poor and needs so much reform in their government and in the delivery of fundamental services that its a constant vicious cycle of - you know, if you cant have a decent tax base so that you can actually have schools for universal education, then youre going to have families desperate to get their sons educated, turn them over to madrasas that are going to inculcate them in extremism and on and on, and on. she told Public Broadcasting Service in an interview on Thursday. 'And so part of what weve tried to do with Pakistan in the last three years is, you know, provide support for them to make the tough decisions. They have to reform their agricultural sector, their energy sector, she added. 'Theyve got to begin to wean their citizenry off of subsidies in order to generate some kind of competitive economic environment. But the fact is that so few people pay taxes in Pakistan, and hardly anybody among the feudal-landed elites and the rich pay taxes. So theres no base on which to build the kind of system of services that people would at least feel like: Well, maybe it hasnt gotten to me yet, but my childrens life will be better, Clinton said. 'So you - you know, you have turmoil, you have extremism, you have all kinds of internal difficulties. So its not only the political choices that are made, its the weak economic leadership that has gripped the country, and - frankly, one of the problems which I see throughout the world - an elite that is not willing to invest in the future prosperity and success of their country, in part because theyre doing pretty well, they have regeneration, in part because they dont see a connection between, you know, if you grow the pie, you actually have a chance to do even better than if you shrink the pie and, you know, your piece is comparatively not growing. So it's a troubling set of economic conditions as well as political ones that were trying to work with them on, she added. The Secretary of State also said the US-Pakistan relationship is difficult but 'very important, and ,therefore, Washington keeps working to improve bilateral ties. Clinton, speaking about three weeks after NATO attacks on Pakistani borderposts in Mohmand, particularly acknowledged the significance of the bilateral relationship in the context of US-led Afghan mission. 'Its a difficult relationship. It has been for many years. You can go back and trace the difficulties that our country has encountered. You know, weve gone through periods of closeness and periods of distance, she said, referring to periods of engagement and estrangement between the two countries over the last several decades. 'And part of the reason we keep going back and working at it is because its a very important relationship, and its especially important with respect to our work in Afghanistan, she explained,10 years after the US went into war against the Taliban in Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11 attacks. The US chief diplomats remarks follow as the two countries try to grapple with tensions in the wake of NATO attaks on Mohmand tribal area, which claimed lives of 24 Pakistani soldiers, and plunged Islamabad-Washington ties into a new crisis. A spate of events earlier this year, had already strained the relations between the two countries. The cross-border strikes evoked a strong protest from Pakistan and led to closure of NATO supplies routes into landlocked Afghanistan. American officials have expressed regrets over the loss of Pakistanis but not apologised formally, saying they are waiting for results of the ongoing investigation into the incident. Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a defence bill, which seeks freezing $ 700 million in aid for Pakistan until US Defence Secretary reports Islamabads effective cooperation in stemming alleged flow of fertilisers that help Afghan militants in carrying out improvised explosive devices attacks against American forces. Pakistan has criticised the move, saying it is not based on facts and takes a narrow view of the overall situation. The US Senate is also likely to pass the legislation as per American media reports, after which it will go to the White House for Presidential approval.