Obama signs huge Pakistan aid package into law

WASHINGTON, October 16, 2009 (AFP) – President Barack Obama signed a 7.5 billion dollar aid package for Pakistan into law Thursday, as the key US anti-terror ally reeled from a new wave of militant attacks which killed 40 people. The requirements sparked uproar in the Pakistani parliament, and were used by opponents of the government’s anti-terror alliance with the United States to hammer President Asif Ali Zardari.

Obama signed the bill hours after militants unleashed coordinated attacks on Pakistani police in which 40 people died, storming offices in Lahore and bombing a station in the northwest of the country to escalate 11 days of carnage.

The assaults underscored the power of armed radicals to strike in the heart of Pakistan, and the weakness of poorly equipped security forces, despite promises of a new offensive against the Taliban.

Over 160 people have been killed in attacks in Pakistan since October 5.

White House deputy spokesman Bill Burton said Obama was “always concerned when there’s a loss of innocent civilian life.”

“This shows once again that the militants in Pakistan threaten both Pakistan and the United States,” Burton said, adding that Obama had been encouraged by recent actions by the P