WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has threatened to stop all aid to Pakistan accusing Islamabad of harbouring terrorists US is hunting in Afghanistan, ARY News reported on Monday.
In a tweet posted on his official Twitter account, Trump said that the United States has “foolishly” given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years and has gained nothing from it.
“They (Pakistan) have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” said Trump.
The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
Trump has time and again expressed its frustration by Pakistan’s “safe havens to Taliban factions” fighting US troops and their Afghan allies.
Trump came to office indicating that Washington’s frustration had reached the point where something had to give.
“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” he said in an August address.
He added that the US can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s “safe havens for terrorist organizations” warning that vital aid could be cut.
Michael Kugelman, senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center, cautioned that people should not “overstate the significance of Trump’s tweet for policy.”
Trump in October tweeted that US relations with Pakistan were improving, but Kugelman said “they most certainly did not improve.”
“Still, this is an administration that has repeatedly vowed to take a harder line and has strongly considered an aid cut. So was Trump’s tweet meant to preview a coming shift in policy? I’d certainly bet on the possibility,” Kugelman said.
And last week, Vice President Mike Pence told American troops during a visit to Afghanistan: “President Trump has put Pakistan on notice.”
Responding to US president’s tweet, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the United States should not put blames of its failure in Afghanistan on Pakistan.
In an interview with Radio Pakistan, she said that Pakistan has rendered unmatched sacrifices in the war against terrorism.
PPP Senator Sherry Rehman reminded US that Pakistan only received Coalition Support Fund which cannot be counted as “aid”.
Coalition support funds has NEVER been counted as AID in any accounting by Pakistan, nor will it be seen as part of assistance. It was compensation on expenses incurred re joint action on border. Other “Aid” we should indeed talk about, because Pk never charged for NATO traffic
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) January 1, 2018
Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif promised a response on Twitter and later told a local television channel that the United States should not blame Pakistan but hold its own people accountable for its failures in Afghanistan.
He added that all funds from the US had been “properly audited” and that “services (were) rendered.”
“We have conveyed to the US that we will not accept any demand for do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance,” Asif told another channel.
Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan said that Pakistan, as anti-terror ally, has given land and air communication, military bases and intelligence cooperation that decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16 years for “free” to US, but the US administration has given Pakistan nothing but invective & mistrust.
‘They (US authorities) overlook cross-border safe havens of terrorists who murder Pakistanis,” said Dastagir.
US ambassador summoned
On the other hand, the Foreign Office summoned US Ambassador David Hale and registered its protest against the US President’s tweet.
Sources said Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua sought an explanation from the ambassador over the Donald Trump’s tweet. The US Embassy later confirmed that Ambassador Hale was summoned by the Foreign Office at 9pm.