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No Kerry-Lugar fund for Pakistan since 2013

Johan Kerry

Washington: The US has committed USD five billion in civilian assistance and another one billion for emergency humanitarian assistance to Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman (KLB) authorisation which expired in October 2014 and has not been renewed, officials have said.

However, the actual amount of financial assistance disbursed to Pakistan under the bill is not available.

“Under the KLB authorisation the US government committed over USD 5 billion in civilian assistance to Pakistan, and also over USD 1 billion in emergency humanitarian assistance for disasters like the 2010 floods,” a State Department official said.

Signed into law by US President Barack Obama in October 2009, the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill also known as the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act had made provision for USD 1.5 billion per annum worth of American financial assistance to Pakistan for a five year period 2009-2014.

The bill expired in October 2014 and has not been renewed, though there was such a provision.

Officials said the actual disbursement of the financial assistance to Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill is not readily available.

However, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters that USD 1.2 billion in civilian aid was appropriated to Pakistan in 2013. There after there has been no civilian financial assistance to Pakistan.

Before seeking Congressional approval of the US aid to Pakistan, under Kerry Lugar Berman Bill, the Secretary of State needs to give certification that Islamabad is meeting the necessary conditions including taking strong action against terrorist organisations.

“The most recent review of that was in September of 2014, based on the FY (financial year) 2013 appropriation. At that time, a certification or waiver for a broad range of topics was required. After reviewing the full range of criteria required by law, the Department of State did not certify, and instead employed the national interest waiver in that case, as well provided by Congress in the legislation,” Psaki said.

“We have certified under the KLB criteria only once. That occurred for FY (20)11, when the Department of State certified that Pakistan had met the requirements at that time,” she said.

Additionally, a review was required, she said, adding that review and subsequent waiver was exercised in July of 2014.

“So it’s essentially a waiver prior to the notification of the funding, which allows the Department to then notify and obligate those funds, which we’ll do this year. We haven’t done at this point,” Psaki said.

“In terms of total funding, for FY 2013, which only began to come off a Congressional hold in September 2014, Congress appropriated approximately USD 1.    2 billion in assistance to Pakistan. FY (financial year) 2014 funding for civilian assistance programmes, has not yet been notified,” she said in response to a question.

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