New Delhi: Donald Trump has accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit”, saying US has been fooled for 15 years.
President Trump declared on Twitter that the US governments had over the years given billion dollars in aid to Islamabad that gave “safe haven” to the terrorists.
The White House has confirmed that the US has suspended its $ 255 million military aid to Pakistan for now, saying the fate of such assistance will depend on Islamabad’s response to terrorism. The US has made it clear that it expects Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorists and militants on its soil, and that Pakistan’s actions in support of the South Asia Strategy will ultimately determine the trajectory of the relationship, including future security assistance.
Stung by criticism, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir-Khan hit back, also on Twitter, stating that Pakistan was an “anti-terror ally” of the US and had provided land and air communication, military bases and intelligence cooperation that “decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16 yrs.” He accused America of giving Pakistan “nothing but invective & mistrust.”
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has called a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) on Wednesday. The meeting has been called to discuss the future course of action following the United States president’s scathing statement against Pakistan. The meeting will be attended by the country’s foreign minister, the interior minister, minister for defence, services chiefs besides, senior civil and military officers.
Last month, during a visit to Afghanistan, US Vice President Mike Pence issued a stern warning to the country, saying Trump had “put Pakistan on notice” that it has provided a “safe haven” for terrorist groups. “Those days are over,” Pence said.
The National Security Strategy (NSS) released last year clearly indicates a major shift in US policy towards Pakistan. The report states, “The United States continues to face threats from transnational terrorists and militants operating from within Pakistan.” It further adds, “We seek a Pakistan that is not engaged in destabilizing behavior and a stable and self-reliant Afghanistan.”
It goes on to add that Washington will press Islamabad “to intensify its counterterrorism efforts” and promises that trade and investment relations will be built “as security improves and as Pakistan demonstrates that it will assist the United States in our counterterrorism goals”.
The US is upset over Pakistan freeing 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed from house arrest in November last year. Washington has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to Saeed’s conviction and has declared his Jamaat-ud Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation “terrorist fronts” for the Lashkar-e-Taiba.