Pakistan, US at crossroad following Trump's fresh accusations

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif | Nicolas Asfouri  AFP via Getty Images

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif | Nicolas Asfouri AFP via Getty Images

In his January 1 tweet, Mr. Trump said the USA had "foolishly" given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid and had gotten nothing in return but "lies & deceit", saying Pakistan gives "safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan".

The Council also claimed Pakistan's counterterrorism campaign had, at great financial cost, "served as a bulwark against the possible expansion of scores of terrorist organizations now present in Afghanistan - a fact acknowledged by USA authorities at the highest levels", CNN reported. In June, his national security council - with Lieutenant General HR McMaster and Lisa Curtis, the council's senior director of south and central Asia, banging the drums - was urging Trump to get the U.S. army stuck into Afghanistan once again. The foreign ministry Monday night summoned the U.S. Ambassador to protest and seek an explanation. Hale's visit with Pakistani officials as "a professional meeting, in tone", adding the decision to withhold foreign aid to Islamabad had been in the works long before Mr. Trump's tweet.

The Committee reached a consensus that despite all unwarranted allegations, Pakistan can not act in haste and will remain committed to playing a constructive role towards an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, not just for the sake of its own people, but also for the peace and security of the region and worldwide community. Pakistan has been one of the largest recipients.

Pakistan's top military and national security leaders called an emergency meeting of the country's National Security Council, chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, to publicly condemn the USA actions. This, remember, was the president who, as recently as December 2016, promised to "stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn't be involved with". Last year, Trump beefed up the number of US troops in Afghanistan. Showing no understanding of the complexities of inter-state relations, Trump has repeatedly broken the legal rules governing diplomatic negotiations with impunity. Earlier Thursday, Mattis said the policy on military aid to Pakistan was "still being formulated".

The public anger in Pakistan was provoked by Trump's recent Twitter post, in which he accused Pakistan of harboring terrorist havens and threatened to cut aid to the South Asian country. Asif insisted that Trump "can hire a U.S. based Audit firm on our expense to verify this figure & let the world know who is lying & deceiving".

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Maria Sultan, director general of the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute, told Xinhua that Pakistan has been a US front line partner in this war against terrorism. -Pakistani co-operation for winning the release of an American woman, her Canadian husband and their children who had been held by Haqqani militants for five years. 'Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. But longtime ally China on Tuesday defended Islamabad and called on the worldwide community to "fully acknowledge" Pakistani counterterrorism efforts.

The Committee was of the firm view that the real challenges in Afghanistan were political infighting, massive corruption, phenomenal growth of drug production and expansion of ungoverned spaces inside Afghanistan full of sanctuaries for multiple worldwide terrorist organisations, posing a serious and direct threat to Afghanistan, its neighbours and the entire region.

"The real challenges in Afghanistan were political infighting, massive corruption, phenomenal growth of drug production and expansion of ungoverned spaces inside Afghanistan full of sanctuaries for multiple global terrorist organizations, posing a serious and direct threat to Afghanistan, its neighbors including Pakistan and the entire region", stated Pakistani Foreign office.

China is investing billions of dollars to help build a network of power plants, rail, road, and communications in Pakistan.

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