US President Donald Trump has strongly criticised Pakistan saying the bilateral relations has given only “lies and deceit” and once again accused Islamabad of providing “safe haven” to terrorists. Trump was referring to the massive USD 33 billion aid to that country.
“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,” Trump said in a strongly worded tweet.
“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Trump said in his first tweet of the year.
The news agencies have reported that Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif called on Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi after Trump’s barbs.
“The meeting held a detailed review of the Trump’s statement,” the Geo TV reported, citing its sources. It said the two leaders also discussed on the country’s foreign policy.
“We will respond to President Trump’s tweet shortly inshallah…Will let the world know the truth..difference between facts & fiction..,” Asif tweeted.
This is the strongest attack that has come from the US president. His remarks came days after the New York Times reported that the US is considering withholding USD 225 million in aid to Pakistan reflecting its dissatisfaction with the latter’s reluctance in the war against terrorism.
In November, the US had strongly condemned release of the Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed by Pakistan and had demanded his immediate re-arrest and prosecution, warning that there would be “repercussions” for bilateral ties if Islamabad fails to take “decisive action” against the JuD chief.
Saeed, who carries a USD 10 million American bounty on his head for terror activities, walked free after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other case.
Earlier in August, unveiling his new South Asia Policy, 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.
In a surprise visit to Afghanistan before Christmas, US Vice President Mike Pence had issued a stern warning to Pakistan, for which using non-state actors against its two neighbours – India and Afghanistan – has been part of its national security policy.
(With inputs from PTI)