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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Angry Pakistan says Donald Trump’s tweet ‘completely incomprehensible’

Donald Trump had said the US had “foolishly” given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid in the last 15 years and had gotten nothing in return but “lies & deceit.”

world Updated: Jan 03, 2018 09:18 IST

Imtiaz Ahmad, Islamabad, Hindustan Times
A handout picture taken and released by the Pakistan Press Information Department (PID) on January 2, 2018, shows Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (L) addressing the National Security Council meeting in Islamabad.
A handout picture taken and released by the Pakistan Press Information Department (PID) on January 2, 2018, shows Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (L) addressing the National Security Council meeting in Islamabad. (AFP)

Pakistan’s top leadership reacted angrily on Tuesday to President Donald Trump’s threat to cut off aid over the country’s counter-terrorism efforts, saying the US accusations had damaged trust between the two countries.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi went into a huddle with civilian and military leaders to frame a response to the allegations by Trump, who, in his first tweet of 2018, said the US had “foolishly” given $33 billion as aid to Pakistan and got “nothing but lies and deceit”.

The Foreign Office summoned US ambassador David Hale on Monday night and lodged a protest. Foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua sought an explanation from the envoy over Trump’s tweet.

Following the meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) chaired by Abbasi, an official statement said recent statements by the US leadership were “completely incomprehensible as they contradicted facts manifestly, struck with great insensitivity at the trust between (the) two nations built over generations, and negated the decades of sacrifices” by Pakistan.

The leaders contended Pakistan had fought the war against terrorism with its own resources and at great cost to its economy. Pakistan’s sacrifices “could not be trivialised so heartlessly by pushing all of it behind a monetary value – and that too an imagined one”, the statement said.

Expressing “deep disappointment” at the recent statements of the US leadership, the statement said Pakistan would not act in haste and will remain committed to a constructive role for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process “despite all unwarranted allegations”.

Trump’s accusations were also puzzling because they were in contrast to the “positive direction” of bilateral ties following close interaction with the US leadership after the unveiling of Trump’s new policy on South Asia, it added.

The NSC contended Pakistan’s counter-terror campaign had prevented the possible expansion of terror groups in Afghanistan. “Most of these terrorists have repeatedly launched cross-border attacks against innocent Pakistanis with impunity by exploiting the presence of millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, a porous Pak-Afghan border and large tracts of ungoverned spaces inside Afghanistan,” the statement said.

The NSC said Pakistan is firmly supporting US-led efforts in Afghanistan and facilitating this through vital lines of communications. As a result of Pakistan’s cooperation, al-Qaeda “had been decimated from the region” while Pakistan had suffered a brutal backlash because of this support.

The NSC said the real challenges in Afghanistan were “political infighting, massive corruption, phenomenal growth of drug production and expansion of ungoverned spaces...full of sanctuaries for multiple international terrorist organizations”. It said Pakistan cannot be held responsible for the “collective failure in Afghanistan and that blaming allies certainly does not serve the shared objective of achieving lasting peace”.

Pakistan’s ambassador to the US was called to Islamabad for the meeting, which also reviewed Islamabad’s overall foreign policy. The meeting was attended by the chiefs of the three services and National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua.

Shortly before the meeting, the powerful military finalised its suggestions for Pakistan’s response during a Corps Commanders’ Conference chaired by army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa.

Pakistan’s parliament also convened a meeting of its committee on national security on Friday to discuss Trump’s threat.

First Published: Jan 03, 2018 07:52 IST

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