Pakistani Americans to Be Associated with US Aid Program: Rep Ed Royce
By Akhtar Mahmud Faruqui
Anaheim, CA: Pakistani Americans will be associated with the disbursement of American aid to Pakistan and are scheduled to meet with US Aid officials in Los Angeles on May 12 to chalk out the modalities of the intended initiative.
This was disclosed by Representative Ed Royce, Chairman House Foreign Relations Committee, in an exclusive interview with Pakistan Link, leading community newspaper read across the length and breadth of the States, during his visit to the paper’s Anaheim office in California prior to his departure on a foreign visit.
Representing Southern California’s 39th district, Representative Ed Royce (R) is serving his 11th term in Congress. As a longtime active member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Royce is known for his knowledge of different regions of the world and analytical foresight into key US foreign policy issues. Immediately prior to becoming Chairman of the Committee, Royce served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade and a member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. He became the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in January 2013.
Furnishing vivid proof of being considerately disposed towards Pakistan, the congressman paid glowing and ungrudging tributes to the Pakistani-American community whose acquisitions in America and manifold services to the home country had prompted the US administration to associate them with the aid disbursement program. Pakistani Americans have played a key role in building relations with Pakistan, have contributed to the US, have helped people across the US, and are leaders in American business and technology. “We all benefit from them,” the Congressman said, adding, “they can create opportunities in Pakistan.”
The congressman exhorted the Pakistani Americans to “work hard for your local community, work first for Pakistani Americans, then branch out to other communities.” They “have a great deal of expertise”, and have earned “respect for the expertise they bring to the country.” They are “well-positioned and their future is bright,” the congressman said buoyantly. “They have to help us with information to assist us in what we can do for Pakistan,” he elaborated.
Reviewing the entire spectrum of US-Pakistan relations, Congressman Ed Royce disclosed that in the last 12 years the United States has given $24 billion to Islamabad. “We have to work with Pakistani Americans and USAID to give aid to Pakistan.” In the coming years, USAID will put more money for education, particularly of girls. It will also chalk out plans to add “more megawatts of electricity to ensure uninterrupted power supply” to homes, schools, and industries, he informed.
Mr Ed Royce mentioned a recent meeting between Minister Ishaq Dar and US Secretary of Commerce in Washington and felt “much work needs to be done for liberalized trade” between the US and Pakistan which could lead to more jobs and opportunities. “I am bullish on this idea,” he assured.
For Pakistani doctors intending to migrate to the United States the Congressman had the good news that Washington was inclined to extend the visa program to facilitate their entry into the United States. The government is also working with APPNA to support teaching colleges in Pakistan.
Referring to the Kashmir conflict, he said it could be handled “peacefully” if “everyone’s rights are assured.” He accepted that Kashmir was a very difficult issue to unravel and solve. The conflict remains a major responsibility for all governments.
The Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman also informed that the US is using “the leverage we have” to put pressure on Burma to end discrimination against Muslims. “Conditions have not improved” and the US is poised to increase the pressure on Burma. Washington is also urging the international community to come together and put pressure on Bashar al Assad to cease hostilities in Syria.
Peace, Congressman Ed Royce remarked, is durable. “We have a responsibility to bring it,” he stated.