US threatens action within days, uses insolent language “liar, deceit, harbour of terrorists, fanning terrorism, playing double game” – worst humiliation in the history of both countries, $255m military aid stopped
Nation special report
WASHINGTON: Since already suffered trust-deficit relations between Pakistan and the United States, the next two to three days are very vital as in a latest move, the White House said Wednesday it would likely announce actions to pressure Pakistan within days.
The worst ties experienced for the first time in the history of two countries started on Monday morning at the eve of New Year when President Donald Trump accused Islamabad of being a liar, inviting a series of sharp responses from the Pakistani According to political and military observers, Donald Trump is issuing categorical warnings to Pakistan even before entering White House.
In Sarah Sanders‘s words, the White House spokeswoman, Donald Trump is implementing whatever he has promised earlier. In his first message, directed at a foreign nation in the New Year, the president pledged to change the nature of a relationship he claimed was based on “nothing but lies and deceit”.
“We are making America great again and much faster than anyone thought possible,” he wrote. At 4:12am, on Monday, Mr Trump tweeted his warning to Pakistan: “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.”
The message was retwee-ted and liked by tens of thousands of his followers. Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif reacted the same and said Islamabad will not do more after US president calls it ‘liar’ He said: “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” It took only an hour for Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif to come up with a rejoinder. “We will respond to President Trump’s tweet shortly Inshallah…Will let the world know the truth…difference between facts & fiction,” he tweeted.
The timing of Mr Trump’s tweet — at 4 in the morning and more than 12 hours after his last tweet — has caused much speculation in the US capital, with some linking it to reports of a further escalation in India-Pakistan tensions. Warning from day one In his new South Asia Policy in August, Trump had called for tougher measure against Pakistan if it fails to cooperate with the US in its fight against terrorism. “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan.
It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists,” Trump had said in his South Asia Policy speech. Noting that in the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner, Trump had accused it of providing shelter to the same organisations that try every single day to kill Americans.
“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately,” Trump had said. “No partnership can survive a country’s harbouring of militants and terrorists who target US service members and officials. It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilisation, order, and to peace,” he had said. Military aid suspended The White House has confirmed suspending $255 million of military aid to Pakistan, a move seen as the first step to implementing President Donald Trump’s pledge to tighten economic restrictions on Pakistan. White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters in Washington that “the United States does not plan to spend the $255 million in … foreign military financing (FMF) for Pakistan at this time”.
The money, set aside for providing military training and equipment to Pakistan, has already been appropriated by the Congress. White House spokesman A spokesman for the White House National Security Council also told reporters that “Pakistan’s actions in support of the (new US) South Asia strategy will ultimately determine the trajectory of our relationship, including future security assistance”. He said that President Trump had already conveyed this message to Islamabad, making it clear that “the United States expects Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorists and militants on its soil”. Various US media outlets reported on Tuesday that the Trump administration had informed Pakistan in August that it was temporarily withholding the $255m, which was part of a $1.1bn aid package authorised in 2016 by the Congress.
The money was put on hold until Pakistan agreed to do more to combat terrorist networks. Official sources revealed last week that the Trump administration was adding to existing cuts on reimbursements to Pakistan by withholding $255m from the FMF. When added to the $350m withheld from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), the aid cuts reduce the annual US aid package to Pakistan from an estimated $1,100m (1.1bn) to less than $500m. ‘Double game’ US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that her country was withholding $255m in aid from Pakistan because of its failure to cooperate fully in America’s fight against terrorism.
“The administration is withholding $255m in assistance to Pakistan. There are clear reasons for this. Pakistan has played a double game for years,” she told reporters at the United Nations. “They work with us at times, and they also harbor the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan. That game is not acceptable to this administration. We expect far more cooperation from Pakistan in the fight against terrorism,” the Indian origin spokeswoman stated. Sarah Sanders Another White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders has said that Pakistan is playing a “double game” on fighting terrorism and warned Islamabad it would have to do more if it wanted to maintain U.S. aid. They can do more to stop terrorism and we want them to do that,” she told reporters. The White House said it would likely announce actions to pressure Pakistan within days, shortly after U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said at the United Nations that Washington would withhold $255 million in assistance to Pakistan. ”There are clear reasons for this. Pakistan has played a double game for years,“ Haley told reporters.
”They work with us at times, and they also harbor the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan. “That game is not acceptable to this administration. We expect far more cooperation from Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.” Pakistan rejects allegations Pakistan civilian and military chiefs on Tuesday rejected “incomprehensible” U.S. comments and summoned American Ambassador David Hale to explain Trump’s tweet. Pakistani U.N. Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said in a statement that her country’s fight against terrorism was not based on any consideration of aid but on national interests and principles. “We have contributed and sacrificed the most in fighting international terrorism and carried out the largest counter terrorism operation anywhere in the world,” Lodhi said.
“We can review our cooperation if it is not appreciated.” Islamabad bristles at the suggestion it is not doing enough to fight militants, noting that its casualties at the hands of Islamists since 2001 number in the tens of thousands. Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday chaired a National Security Committee meeting of civilian and military chiefs, focusing on Trump’s tweet. The meeting, which lasted nearly three hours, was brought forward by a day and followed an earlier meeting of army generals. The committee, in a statement issued by the prime minister’s office, did not name Trump but spoke of “deep disappointment” at a slew of critical comments from U.S. officials over the past few months. “Recent statements and articulation by the American leadership were completely incomprehensible as they contradicted facts manifestly, struck with great insensitivity at the trust between two nations built over generations, and negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation,” it said.
Strained relations Relations between Washington and Islamabad have been strained for years over Islamabad’s alleged support for Haqqani network militants, who are allied with the Afghan Taliban. The United States also alleges that senior Afghan Taliban commanders live on Pakistani soil, and has signalled it will cut aid and take other steps if Islamabad does not stop helping or turning a blind eye to Haqqani militants crossing the border to carry out attacks in Afghanistan.