“Everybody in Pakistan knew Osama bin Laden was there next to the military academy but no one said anything despite US providing $1.3 billion a year in aid, now stopped”; complaints Donald Trumph
“US should assess own failures in Afghanistan instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat”; retaliates Imran Khan. Pakistan gave information to US on Osama. Triumph’s baseless rhetoric not unacceptable
Nation special report
ISLAMABAD: The trust-deficit relations between Pakistan and the United States further suffered jerks following the harsh statement full of allegations by President Donald Trump on Islamabad’s role in fighting terrorism and in the arrest of Osama bin Laden. Pakistan’s Prime minister Imran Khan also responded to him in the same tune and categorically stated that Pakistan Government will decide and take action according to the interest of the country and countrymen.
In a televised interview on Monday, President Trump alleged that Pakistan had “never told us (America) that he was living there”, accusing Islamabad of deliberately hiding Bin Laden while taking billions of dollars of US taxpayers’ money as aid.
Trump said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” that “everybody in Pakistan” knew bin Laden was there and no one said anything despite the United States providing $1.3 billion a year in aid. That statement created a furor in Islamabad.
New Prime Minister Imran Khan fired back, tweeting on Monday that Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties and lost $123 billion in the “U.S. War on Terror,” despite the fact that no Pakistanis were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. He says the U.S. has only provided a “miniscule” $20 billion in aid.
“Rejecting the insinuations about OBL (Osama Bin Laden), the Foreign Secretary reminded the US CdA that it was Pakistan’s intelligence cooperation that had provided the initial evidence to trace the whereabouts of OBL,” a senior ministry official said.
Following several comments posted by Trump on Twitter, Prime Minister Imran Khan hit back and reminded the US president of Pakistan’s sacrifices in supporting the “war against terror” and in the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
“The record needs to be put straight on Mr. Trump’s tirade against Pakistan: 1. No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pak decided to participate in US War on Terror. 2.
Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war & over $123bn was lost to economy. US “aid” was a minuscule $20 bn,” he tweeted.
Trump’s accusations against Pakistan have driven a nail into the very issues between Islamabad and Washington which both sides have been trying to mend, even as they look to “reset an environment” of frosty relations. However, they have failed to meet eye to eye on certain matters as it conflicts with national interests.
Following Trump’s accusations, the Pentagon, however, said on Tuesday that its relations with Pakistan’s military remain unchanged. “The US and Pakistan have a strong mutual interest in the region. As you know, they are critical (and) vital to the South Asia strategy and including the facilitation of a peace process that would lead to a stable and peaceful Afghanistan,” Col Rob Manning, director of defence press operations told journalists at a news conference.
PM Imran Khan
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday clapped back at United States (US) President Donald Trump on Monday, suggesting that Washington assess its efficacy in the War on Terror in Afghanistan instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for its failures.
While speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Trump attempted to justify his administration’s decision at the start of 2018 to pull “military aid” to Pakistan by linking it to Osama bin Laden being found in Pakistan in 2011. “They [Pakistan] don’t do a damn thing for us,” the US president had said.
PM Khan responded to Trump’s statements, saying that Islamabad had decided to “participate in the US War on Terror” although no Pakistani was involved in the 9/11 attacks.
“Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war and over $123 billion was lost,” he added, of which “US ‘aid’ was a miniscule $20bn”, the premier said.
In addition to economic losses, the PM highlighted the impact of the US war on Pakistan’s tribal areas. “Our tribal areas were devastated and millions of people were uprooted from their homes. The war drastically impacted the lives of ordinary Pakistanis,” he said.
“Pakistan continues to provide free lines of ground and air communications (GLOCs/ALOCs),” he added.
“Can Mr Trump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?” he asked
“Instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 140,000 Nato troops, plus 250,000 Afghan troops and reportedly $1 trillion spent on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before,” he suggested.
US diplomat summoned
Pakistan summoned the US Chargé d’Affaires (CdA) in Islamabad, Ambassador Paul Jones, “to register a strong protest” against the unwarranted and unsubstantiated allegations levelled by President Donald Trump on Islamabad’s role in fighting terrorism and in the arrest of Osama bin Laden.
Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua told Jones on Tuesday that “such baseless rhetoric about Pakistan was totally unacceptable”. US Embassy’s spokesperson in Islamabad confirmed that Ambassador Jones did meet with the Foreign Secretary at her request”, without sharing Jones’ response to the statement. The matter is most likely to be addressed at the state briefing in Washington and possibly at the White House on Tuesday, the spokesperson added.
“Conveying her government’s disappointment on the recent tweets and comments by the US president, the US CdA was told that such baseless rhetoric about Pakistan was totally unacceptable,” the office of the foreign secretary said in a statement.
On Monday, President Trump told the Fox News the reasons for ending over a billion dollar annual aid for Pakistan was because the country didn’t do “a damn thing for us”.He also mentioned the stay of Osama bin Laden (OBL) in Pakistan before he was killed by the US forces.
In reply, the foreign secretary said: “We reject the insinuations about OBL, and want to remind the US that it was Pakistan’s intelligence cooperation that provided the initial evidence to trace the whereabouts of OBL.” She added that no other country had paid a heavier price than Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.
Washington and Kabul have long accused Islamabad of harboring militants — a charge it denies. The friction threatens to further worsen already fragile relations between Islamabad and Washington, on-off allies who have repeatedly clashed about the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s alleged support for militants.
U.S. commandos killed bin Laden in a May 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he had been living in seclusion in a house near a well-known military academy. Pakistan denies it knew bin Laden’s whereabouts prior to the raid, which was carried out without its knowledge. It later arrested Dr. Shakil Afridi, who had run a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad to help the CIA confirm bin Laden’s whereabouts.