WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Top U.S. lawmakers, noting Pakistan's concerns over the $7.5 billion aid package, rejected any suggestion Washington seeks to micromanage Pakistani affairs.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., who chair the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, announced an explanatory statement would be attached to the aid bill, which will provide $1.5 billion of non-military aid to Pakistan annually for five years. The measure awaits President Barack Obama's signature.
The bill has the full support of the government of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari but the country's powerful military establishment and main opposition parties see it as paving the way for the United States to interfere in the country's military and civilian affairs. Criticism of the bill in Pakistan led Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to rush to Washington to seek clarification.
Appearing with Qureshi and Berman, Kerry announced an "explanatory statement" will be attached to the aid bill. Explaining the intent of the measure, Kerry said it "demonstrates the American people have a long-term commitment to the people of Pakistan," CNN reported.
The explanatory statement says the United States has no intention of interfering in Pakistani affairs.
Thanking the two lawmakers, Qureshi said: "You heard me. And this document, which I think is an historic document, is a step forward in our relationship."
Pakistan's Dawn newspaper said the statement does not mention the requirement for effective civilian control over promotions and strategic planning in the Pakistani military.