Senator Rand Paul is about to introduce a creative resolution that would halt U.S. arms sales to the government of Pakistan.
“This power hasn’t been used since the Reagan administration,” Paul told Rare, citing a 1986 push to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Sen. Paul said it’s dangerous for the U.S. government to continue arming that country, with its long history of human rights violations, particularly against Christians.
He plans to take advantage of a little-known procedural maneuver that allows senators to object to arms sales. “I object to continuing to feed the arms race in that area of the world,” Paul said. “Once we give planes to one side, the other side will need more planes,” he added.
Paul noted Pakistan’s holding of Asia Bibi, a Christian, is troubling. “[Bibi] is on death row for supposedly criticizing the state religion. I think that’s a human rights violation to such a degree that we shouldn’t be subsidizing arm sales to a country that is persecuting any Christians,” Paul said.
Bibi has been jailed by Pakistan for five years for breaking that country’s blasphemy laws.
Paul also noted his opposition to U.S. taxpayers subsidizing this endeavor to the tune of at least $4 billion. Paul says he’s concerned because Pakistan’s behavior hasn’t been reliable.
Rare asked Sen. Paul what he believes those who support arming Pakistan expect to get from it. He explained that, “They say it’s a way to fight terrorism. But frankly, Pakistan has been an uncertain ally as far as the War on Terrorism goes.”
“There are some allegations that the ten years Osama bin Laden spent in Pakistan, that could have almost never have occurred without their knowledge,” Paul noted.
The senator noted that some politicians believe the United States influences Pakistan’s behavior by giving them weapons. Paul doesn’t buy it.
“Not only is Pakistan’s imprisonment of Asia Bibi wrong, they imprisoned Dr. Shakil Afridi, who helped us get bin Laden,” said Paul.
“Until they release those [two prisoners], I will be forcing votes on any arm sales to Pakistan,” the senator insisted.
For Sen. Paul, who since leaving the presidential race has been focusing on reelection in his home state of Kentucky, the issue also comes down to a matter of priorities.
“As I’m traveling around Kentucky and I see the looks on the faces of people who are out of work, and we have a lot of people who have lost their jobs in the coalmines, it saddens me to think of where they are, and their situations. Yet then we’re sending money to Pakistan.” Paul said.
“We don’t even have enough money take care of our people at home,” he added. “We have no business sending hundreds of millions of dollars overseas, and fueling an arms race at the same time.”
Sen. Paul said that he expects that his objection to arming Pakistan will be heard on the Senate floor during the week of March 7th.