Today, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's (R-CA) amendment tying the Defense Department's ability to give monetary aid to Pakistan's military to its treatment of ethnic and religious minority groups was included in final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 by the House of Representatives.
The amendment requires the Secretary of Defense to certify that Pakistan is not using its military to "persecute minority groups for their legitimate and nonviolent political and religious beliefs." The amendment specifically names the Balochi, Sindhi and Christian minorities, among others.
"This is a giant step forward for those victims of oppression in Pakistan," said Rohrabacher. "For the first time their plight is being recognized and a policy is being established of not giving the Pakistani government the weapons to carry on their repression. This is the first time the plight of the Balochi and the Sindhi have been underscored in legislation that links support for Pakistan's military to how they treat those minority groups."
Pakistan's military and security services have long carried out vicious attacks against minorities aimed at depriving them of their right to participate in the political process and their right of self determination. The United States has given over $25 billion dollars of aid to Pakistan since 2001 and this year's National Defense Authorization Act authorized up to an additional $1.5 billion dollars.
The Rohrabacher amendment was offered with the bipartisan co-sponsorship of Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA).
Rep. Rohrabacher is Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats.