In a House Foreign Affairs Committee markup on July 21, 2011, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) offered an amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. The amendment required that, of the funds made available to Voice of America, $1.5 million be used only for Sindhi language programming.
– Foreign Affairs Committee – Unofficial Transcript
July 21st, 2011
Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen: Mr. Sherman hold on a second before we recognize you. I think we may have to tinker with your amendment a little bit.
Congressman Sherman: I would ask unanimous consent to amend my amendment to read as follows and this is inspired by Mr. Rohrabacher. Of the funds authorized to be appropriated to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, one and a half million, big discount here, is authorized to be appropriated only for Sindhi language communication. Such funds may not be used for any other purpose. Do I have unanimous consent?
Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen: Without objection the amendment has been amended and approved. So we are on the Mr. Sherman amendment as amended. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes to explain his amendment.
Congressman Sherman: For many years the Pakistani government has focused Pakistan on just using one language, …, when in fact Sindhi is spoken by tens of millions of people. We need to reach out to the people of the Sindh province and others who speak the Sindhi language. For the most part these are people who profess a moderate form of Islam and yet they are not hearing from us in their native language. There is probably no country more important to us in our efforts against terrorism and extremism than is Pakistan. We cannot just reach the Pakistani people in the Urdu language. We cannot ignore the southern third of the country. I have received reports from Voice of America that they could begin communicating in the Sindh language if they were to devote one and half million dollars to this. Now I would think that in their three quarters of a billion dollar budget, that they could find the funds necessary to do what might be the most important part of our Voice of America efforts and that is to reach out to the people of Pakistan.
I would also comment that if I can secure support for this amendment it will not only be the last amendment I offer today but this will be the last speech I give today in this room.
There are many things the Voice of America does but the fact that the country that is probably most important to us from a national security perspective at this time, we are broadcasting only in one language and we are ignoring the southern third of the country. I think a million and half dollars a year to correct that is a good decision for this committee and this congress to make and with that I yield back.
Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen: Thank you Mr. Sherman. Based on the fact that you are a level, intelligent person who is trustworthy as a boy scout it seems like a very good amendment and I do not see any opposition from our side and we are prepared to accept the amendment. So with that, hearing no further request for recognition, the question occurs on the Sherman amendment. All those in favor say, “Aye”, all opposed, “No”. In the opinion of the chair the Ayes have it and the amendment is agreed to.
Source: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, July 22, 2011. → YouTube