Ex-US Senator Richard Lugar, co-sponsor of 2009 civilian aid bill for Pakistan, dies

NEW YORK, Apr 29 (APP):Former US Senator Richard Lugar, a centrist Republican, who in 2009 co-authored with Democratic Senator John Kerry a controversial aid bill for Pakistan, died on Sunday at age 87.

The Lugar Center, a Washington-based charity, said in a statement that he died peacefully at the Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute in Virginia due to complications from CIDP, a chronic neurological disorder.

The bill was designed to provide $7.5 billion non-military aid to Pakistan over the next five years. But it came under fierce criticism in Pakistan for seeking to impinge on national sovereignty because of some conditions built into it.

The then President Barack Obama signed into law the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 — generally known as ‘Kerry-Lugar Bill’ — on Oct 15, 2009, after the Congress assured Islamabad that the legislation does not seek to compromise its sovereignty and national interests.

Lugar was an influential Republican voice on foreign policy. A former Rhodes scholar and an avid runner into his 70s, Lugar served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and also headed the Agriculture Committee. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1996.

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement praising Lugar for his Senate work, including reducing nuclear weapons after the end of the cold war.

Born in Indianapolis on April 4, 1932, Lugar attended Pembroke College at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He served in the Navy from 1957 to 1960, working as an intelligence officer.

He married his wife, Charlene, in 1956. They had four children.