A bill has been put forward on the first day of the 117th congress, which seeks to strip Pakistan from its standing as a major non-NATO ally. The bill was presented by a prominent Republican from Arizona, Congressman Andy Briggs.
The status allows Pakistan to have access to American defense supplies and participation in cooperative defense research and development programs.
The bill has been handed over to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
However, the US media highlighted that “the legislation comes at a moment of uncertainty over the incoming Biden administration’s posture towards Pakistan after four years of tumultuous relations in the Trump era.”
As well, many analyze that the bill will not progress as Andy Briggs is not a member of the committee. “There was no indication the bill will have momentum before the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” writes the Wall Street Journal. According to the Wall Street Journal the move failed to gain attention from the media “but triggered headlines in India, which … has long been critical of US-Pakistan relations.”
The bill will need support from the incoming President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party to pass as they are in majority in the House of Representatives.
The last two years have shown progress in relations between the two nations, as Pakistan helped the Trump administration to mediate talks with the Afghan Taliban. The talks have led to a peace agreement between the US and Taliban but the deal could not reach the desired results of a complete troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In contrast to Trump, Biden is not keen on military withdrawal but does wish to cut down America’s military footprint in Afghanistan. Foreign policy experts believe that Biden would not want to start his career as President by complicating relations with Pakistan as it will also risk the peace agreement with the Afghan Taliban.
According to the Bill the President “may not issue a separate designation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as a major non-Nato ally or any other provision of law” until a Presidential certification is submitted confirming that Pakistan’s is conducting continuous military operations that are contributing to the disruption of freedom and security of the Haqqani Network in Pakistan.
The bill also asks the President to certify whether Pakistan is taking measures for the prosecuting and arresting of the senior leaders of the Haqqani network.
Pakistan was designated as the major non-NATO ally by the Bush Administration in 2004. Currently, the US has 17 non-NATO allies with Brazil being the latest country to receive this designation by Trump in 2019.