Pakistan hits back at Trump over tweet about aid cut

Islamabad / Washington: Pakistan has vowed to respond soon to US President Donald Trump’s tweet that the US has “foolishly” handed Pakistan more than $33 billion (Dh121 billion) in aid over the past 15 years while getting nothing in return and pledged to put a stop to it.

Foreign Minister Khawaja M. Asif said: “We will respond to Trump’s tweet shortly Insha Allah… Will let the world know the truth… Difference between facts and fiction.”

Asif said that Pakistan has already refused to ‘do more’ for the United States.

Yesterday, Trump accused Pakistan of giving Washington “nothing but lies and deceit”, announcing that the country will not get any aid in future.

‘No more’

“We have already told the US that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance,” Asif told Geo News TV channel.

“Pakistan is ready to publicly provide every detail of the US aid that it has received,” Asif said in a strongly worded statement. “Trump is disappointed at the US defeat in Afghanistan and that is the only reason he is flinging accusations at Pakistan,” the foreign minister said.

It was not immediately clear what prompted Trump’s criticism of Pakistan but he has long complained that Islamabad is not doing enough to tackle militants.

The US President began the New Year by accusing Pakistan and saying Washington had “foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years”, but Pakistan had given “safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help”. “No more,” he added.

In a news conference held on 28 December, Pakistan army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said no organised infrastructure of a terrorist organisation exists in Pakistan. He said the aid Pakistan received from the US was “reimbursement for support we gave to the coalition for its fight against Al Qaida”.

“Had we not supported the US and Afghanistan, they would never have been able to defeat Al Qaida,” Ghafoor said.

Confusing claims

Interestingly, the tweet comes barely three months after Trump had posted positive words about Pakistan. On October 13, he had written: “Starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders. I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts.”

Former ambassador the US and Pakistan People’s Party Senator Sherry Rehman highlighted this confusion. “There is a lot of confusion on the American side, which indicates internal crisis in US policymaking as some US administration officers are acknowledging Pakistan’s support while others are criticising at the same time.” She warned that: “Things will keep on getting worse if sober voices in the US do not control this.”

In the evening, Asif called on Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to discuss the country’s foreign policy.

— With inputs from Agencies


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