WASHINGTON, Jan. 1: In one of the strongest warning from the US President, Donald Trump hinted that he would withdraw the annual $255 million aid to Pakistan for not cooperating on terrorism. In a tweet on Monday, Trump said the US had foolishly given Pakistan more that $33 billion in aid since 2012 and received nothing but lies and deceit.
“The US has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” the Republican leader said. He further accused Islamabad of harbouring the terrorists that the US was hunting in neighbouring Afghanistan. “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more,” Trump said.
An announcement from Trump was around the corner as reports emerged a couple of days ago saying the administration was strongly considering to withhold the $255 million in aid to Pakistan, reflecting dissatisfaction with Islamabad’s inaction against terror networks.
Reacting to Trump’s remarks, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said they would soon bring out the reality before the world. “We will respond to President Trump’s tweet shortly…Will let the world know the truth..difference between facts and fiction,” Asif tweeted.
Relations between the US and Pakistan have nosedived since Trump declared in his South Asia policy that Pakistan “gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror.” The tweet comes in the wake of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed looking to contest the 2018 general elections in Pakistan and has even formed a new party – Milli Muslim League (MML). Saeed was recently released from house arrest after a Pakistani court cited lack of evidence against him in the 26/11 Mumbai attack case.
Trump’s tweet should come as sweet music to India, which has repeatedly protested against Pakistan’s lack of seriousness in destroying terror havens and giving shelter to Saeed, a UN-designated terrorist, and other militant groups.
According to a New York Times report, the growing disagreement between the US and Pakistan and Islamabad’s inability to neutralise terrorist networks operating from its soil was possibly affecting the decision in providing financial aid to the south-east nation.
The report cited the major disappointment for the US was Pakistan’s rejection of its demand of access to one of the abductors involved in the kidnapping of the Canadian-American family.
TIE With inputs from agencies