Trump's Tweet Has Done Pakistan a Massive Favor

06 January, 2018, 02:54 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif | Nicolas Asfouri  AFP via Getty Images

"No amount of coercion can dictate us how to continue", he said. Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in a tweet challenged Trump's claim that the U.S. has given Pakistan more than USD 33 billion dollars as aid over the last 15 years, saying verification by an audit firm would prove the USA president wrong. He noted that Pakistan and the United States were still allies, and the relationship between the two countries had gone through ups and downs.

The Express Tribune noted that Islamabad refuses to "do more" to combat terrorism in South Asia.

The Haqqani Network operates in Afghanistan from safe havens across the border in Pakistan, targeting US-led worldwide coalition forces. "We tried to please you on the cost of our economy, we provided tens of thousands of visas as a result of which the networks of Black Water spread across our country", he said.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the restrictions covered security assistance above and beyond the $255 million for Pakistani purchases of American military equipment that the administration held up in August.

Pakistan knows that we all know that, and we try to work carefully together on some of those issues, but Pakistan-I don't want to say that Pakistan can do more, but Pakistan knows what it needs to do.

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"There is a nexus between the USA and India, they share the same stakes", Asif said, adding that "the United States wants to use India like they used Pakistan in the past, or maybe a step further".

Ayaz Sadiq, speaker of Pakistan's lower House of Parliament, told reporters this week a strategy is being discussed in the Parliament's national security committee following Trump's tweet.

Afghan-born Zalmay Khalilzad who has emerged as one of the vocal critic of Pakistan and has accused it of being a state sponsor of terrorism made the remarks ahead of the announcement of White House actions to pressurise Pakistan.

Pakistani Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan returned criticism in a tweet noting that Islamabad "as anti-terror ally has given free to USA: land & air communication, military bases & intel cooperation that decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16yrs, but [the United States has] given us nothing but invective & mistrust".

Major General Asif Ghafoor, a spokesman for the Pakistani Army, added that USA aid to Pakistan has been "reimbursement for support Islamabad gave to the coalition for its fight against Al Qaeda".

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"Allies don't fight", he added, saying that "the US should realize how Pakistan has been cooperative in the war against terror".

Pakistan simply could not have asked for anything better.

Trump had reasoned that the U.S. is "starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders". But even if Pakistan did everything the US asked, it's highly uncertain this would yield stability in Afghanistan.

The $255-million aid denied to Pakistan came from the security-related part of the package, which are broadly aimed at boosting the country's counter-terrorism capabilities.

Many members of the US Congress - particularly Republicans, who control both houses of the legislature - have been critical of the Pakistani government and called for cuts in military and other aid.

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The United States also alleges that senior Afghan Taliban commanders live on Pakistani soil, and has signaled 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. "President Trump has put Pakistan on notice", Pence had told American troops at the Bagram Airfield.

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