By: Joe Gould
WASHINGTON — A key House lawmaker is sponsoring legislation to downgrade Pakistan’s status as a major U.S. ally and limit its access to American-made weapons, just as President Donald Trump intends to take a harder line toward Islamabad.
Texas Republican Rep. Ted Poe has proposed a bill that would take away Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally, or MNNA. The move comes amid multiple reports the Trump administration will press Islamabad to crack down on Pakistan-based militants like the Haqqani network, which launched attacks in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan must be held accountable for the American blood on its hands,” Poe said while introducing the bill on Thursday. “For years, Pakistan has acted as a Benedict Arnold ally of the United States. From harboring Osama bin Laden to backing the Taliban, Pakistan has stubbornly refused to go after, in any meaningful way, terrorists that actively seek to harm opposing ideologies.”
Poe said the U.S. must make a clean break with Pakistan or at least stop providing it with sophisticated weaponry and treating it like a close ally.
Poe chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee, and he has offered similar legislation several times over several years. This bill, co-sponsored with Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., is more likely to make a statement than to become reality, and it faces a long legislative road if the administration doesn't beat it to the punch.
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