Billions in Relief Aid Headed to Pakistan

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WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is sending a $7.5 billion relief package to Pakistan after signing a bill granting the funds Thursday.
The move, however, did not come without controversy.     
The legislation includes measures meant to ensure the funds will go to the Pakistani people, but questions remain on both sides.

Over the past two weeks, Pakistan has been rocked by terrorist violence that has seen more than 200 people killed in Taliban attacks.

The latest carnage came Thursday in Lahore, where bomb and gun attacks killed 28 people, including 19 policemen. Amid the chaos, Pakistanis are looking for positive signs.

The new aid package will provide the country with $1.5 billion annually over five years.

The money is meant to bolster Pakistan's weak civilian government in its fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda. But it was only signed after assurances from Washington that it would not seek to interfere in Pakistan's internal affairs.

"There is nothing in this bill that impinges on Pakistani sovereignty, period, end of issue," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. "And we have no intention of doing so."

The Pakistani military was upset because some language in the bill links money for counterterrorism efforts to Pakistan's success in cracking down on islamic extremism.

Some U.S. officials have said Pakistan has not done enough to fight terror with the billions of dollars in U.S. aid it has already received since 9/11.

In the past, the Pakistani government has diverted U.S. dollars meant for fighting terror to preparing for war with its rival, India.

Pakistan's military and intelligence services are also suspected of being riddled with Taliban and al Qaeda sympathizers.

At the end of the day, Pakistan is a nuclear armed state teetering on the brink, and the Obama administration hopes that more money will equal more stability.

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CBN News
Erick Stakelbeck

Erick Stakelbeck

CBN News Correspondent

Erick Stakelbeck is a sought after authority on terrorism and national security issues with extensive experience in television, radio, and print media. Stakelbeck is a correspondent and terrorism analyst for CBN News.  Follow Erick on Twitter @Staks33.