Bill tabled in US House to terminate Pakistan’s ‘Non-NATO ally’ status

WASHINGTON: A US lawmaker has introduced a bill titled “To terminate the designation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally, and for other purposes” in the US Congress that seeks to cancel the designation of Pakistan as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA).

The bill tabled by US Congressman Andy Biggs on January 9, removes Pakistan’s designation as a major non-NATO ally, a status that allows for various benefits such as access to excess US defence supplies and makes countries eligible for loans of material, supplies, or equipment for cooperative research, development, testing, or evaluation purposes.

Pertaining to Pakistan, the bill elaborated that the US President cannot issue a separate designation of Pakistan as a Major NATO ally unless a presidential certification states that Pakistan continues to conduct military operations that are contributing to significantly disrupting the safe haven and freedom of movement of the Haqqani Network in Pakistan.

The bill seeks a certification that contains a determination that Pakistan has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to preventing the Haqqani Network from using any Pakistani territory as a safe haven. The certification must further certify that the Government of Pakistan actively coordinates with the Government of Afghanistan to restrict the movement of militants, such as the Haqqani Network, along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border; and that Pakistan has shown progress in arresting and prosecuting Haqqani Network senior leaders and mid-level operatives.

The MNNA status was first created in 1987 and is a designation that is a powerful symbol of a close relationship with the United States. While MNNA status provides military and economic privileges, it does not entail any security commitments to the designated country.

With Afghanistan’s status rescinded last year, the US has 17 major non-NATO allies, according to the US State Department. They are Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, South Korea, Thailand and Tunisia.

Pakistan was named a MNNA during the Bush administration in 2004. (ANI)