NEW DELHI, July 15: Pakistan is a "Benedict Arnold" ally that has 'betrayed' the United States with its support for known terrorist organisations, a US lawmaker from the state of Texas said on Friday.
Ted Poe, a Republican Congressman who recently moved an amendment to a US Congress piece of legislation, has previously called Pakistan US's "ugliest ally" and has said that it has "American blood on its hands".
Poe's most recent comments targeting Pakistan were made after the US House of Representatives - the lower house of the country's Congress - passed bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act, which includes Poe's amendment on Pakistan.
If the bill becomes law, which would require the approval of both US Congress's upper house (the Senate) and President Donald Trump, it would require the Pentagon to asses Pakistan's support for "known terrorists" before US provides military funding to Islamabad.
"It is well known that Pakistan is a Benedict Arnold ally who supports multiple terrorist organizations, including groups that target Americans working to stabilize Afghanistan," Poe said, commenting the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Poe noted that the US already has placed certain restrictions on the funding that Islamabad receives from Washington. "But current limitations on military reimbursement funding to Pakistan only apply to one terrorist group: the Haqqani Network," Poe added.
The passage of the National Defense Authorization Act is a step that will "end Pakistan's betrayal of the US with the addition of an additional certification requirement," Poe further said.
Notably, the United States recognizes Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba, both groups that India has long accused Pakistan of tacitly supporting, as terrorist organisations.
ANTI-PAKISTAN VOICES IN US
Voices questioning Pakistan's support for terrorism have been gaining more prominence in the United States, recently.
Poe himself recently authored an opinion for the Washington Times in which he called Pakistan the "ugliest of the bunch" of US allies.
"Pakistan has a long duplicitous relationship with the US", Poe wrote, accusing Islamabad of providing the al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden escape routes from Afganistsan even as the US launched an assault against the terror group in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Last week, US Senator John McCain, a noted Donald Trump critic, too called out Pakistan for its support to the Haqqani network - an Afganistan-based group that seems to have replaced al-Qaeda as the deadliest militant group in the region.
"We have made it very clear that we expect they (Pakistan) will cooperate with us, particularly against the Haqqani network," McCain said in Kabul on July 5. "If they don't change their behaviour, maybe we should change our behaviour towards Pakistan as a nation."
Earlier, in June an American think tank blamed Pakistan for providing sanctuary for members of the Taliban and Haqqani network.
The US government too has not been shy of late to take Pakistan to the task for its support to terrorists. US intelligence services, in a recent collective assessment, blamed Pakistan's "support to anti-India militants" for the deterioration in ties between New Delhi and Islamabad.
And, during Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi's June meeting with President Donald Trump in the US, the two "leaders called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries", according to a joint statement released by New Delhi and Washington.
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