Pakistan angered by Trump's aid freeze, terrorist "safe haven" remark

by Garry Watts January 8, 2018, 0:53
Pakistan angered by Trump's aid freeze, terrorist

Last week, President Trump published several tweets criticizing United States aid policy to Pakistan, vowing to break with the policy of the past two administrations of pumping tens of billions of dollars in aid into the country for little tangible return.

Asif added that he believes the US-Pakistan relations are now at risk, especially after the tensions heightened and moods turned sour when President Donald Trump warned Islamabad to "do more" against terrorists, to whom, he alleges, the country provides safe havens. They need Pakistan. Supply lines to Afghanistan pass through Pakistan. Is Pakistan doing enough to get rid of terrorists and safe havens? Pakistan became one of the United States' most important strategic allies in the war on terrorism, even negotiating discussions with the Taliban and al-Qaeda to see whether they would hand over Osama bin Laden.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said Pakistan should "delink" itself from the United States after its humiliation "by an ungrateful Donald Trump".

However, the USA war with Afghanistan created some complicated politics for Pakistan.

"Working towards enduring peace requires mutual respect and trust along with patience and persistence", Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

In an August speech on Afghanistan, Trump remarked: "We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting". Since the Afghan people-who are now deeply, understandably hostile to Pakistan and favorable toward India-will never vote such a government into power, the next best outcome for Pakistan is to ensure the government and the country are divided and unstable.

The Trump administration is rightly signaling to Islamabad that "business as usual" has come to an end. "That will have to change and that will change immediately".

Haley insisted that "That game is not acceptable to this administration".

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Islamabad is calling a USA decision to suspend security assistance "counterproductive".

Also Thursday, the State Department accused Pakistan of severe violations of religious freedom.

The Trump administration is considering a range of other punishments, too, including sanctions, increased drone strikes and a withdrawal of support for Pakistan at global financial institutions such as the World Bank, my colleagues reported.

"We are determined to continue to do all it takes to secure the lives of our citizens and broader stability in the region".

Unfortunately, Pakistan's all-powerful military appears unable to escape a prison of perpetual denial.

There has been no official statement about the meeting, neither has there been any response from the Indian government on the USA announcement about suspension of military assistance to Pakistan.

'There are considerable risks for the US because Pakistan could retaliate in ways that would be very problematic for USA regional interests, ' he said, such as curtailing intelligence cooperation and USA supply lines into Afghanistan. The status quo, long viewed by Washington as lamentable but tolerable, will no longer be a costless affair for Pakistan. But, it did not lead to any tangible change in behaviour, besides piecemeal changes.

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