US House votes to cut USD 650mn in Pak aid

Washington: The US House of Representatives has passed an amendment unanimously that cuts down USD 650 million in military aid to Pakistan as Republicans sought to tamp down demands for still deeper reductions.

Congressman Ted Poe had demanded a USD 1.3 billion cut, but later settled for the 650 million cut. "Pakistan is the `Benedict Arnold` to America in the war on terror. They are disloyal, deceptive and a danger to the United States," Poe, who had moved the amendment, said.

"This so-called ally continues to take billions in US aid, while funding the militants who attack us. And we`ve kept the money flowing. It`s time we turn off the tap," Poe said in a statement after the amendment was passed by the House of Representatives with bipartisan support.

It will now go to Senate for apprival. "By continuing to provide aid to Pakistan, we are funding the enemy, endangering Americans and undermining our efforts in the region. We don`t need to pay them to betray us; they are already doing it for free," said Poe, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The passage of the amendment comes at a fragile time for relations between the United States and Pakistan, which only recently overcame differences that led Pakistan closing down a critical supply route into Afghanistan that had cost the United States about USD 100 million in additional war costs.