U.S. president can not afford to walk away from Pakistan

Pakistani traders protest against US President Donald Trump in Peshawar Pakistan on Friday
Credit Muhammad Sajjad AP

Pakistani traders protest against US President Donald Trump in Peshawar Pakistan on Friday Credit Muhammad Sajjad AP

On Friday, Pakistan criticized what it called "shifting goalposts" and said the USA suspension of aid was counter-productive. "No more!" Trump said.

"The timing and nature of the Trump administration's decision are worrisome".

The announcement followed a tweet from President Donald Trump earlier this week alleging that Pakistan gives "safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan". It also placed the country on a watch list of nations failing to protect religious freedom.

Pakistan has accused the USA of betrayal after Washington suspended aid, accusing the country of playing a double game over terrorism.

"Arbitrary deadlines, unilateral pronouncements and shifting goalposts are counterproductive in addressing common threats", the Foreign Office said in a statement in Islamabad earlier.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, in an interview with the local Geo News television, said the us was "now neither a friend nor ally but a friend who always betrays". "We do not intend to reprogram any funds at this time", a State Department official said. If the USA keeps piling on new actions, Pakistan's calls for retaliation will likely grow.

The US, she said, will not be delivering military equipment or transfer security-related funds to Pakistan unless it is required by law. Khan has called for Pakistan to expel some US diplomatic personnel and cut off supply routes for the USA -led coalition forces from the port city of Karachi to landlocked Afghanistan, as well as close its airspace to USA forces.

Asked if he believed the civilian government was capable of assisting U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the region, Mr Mattis said: "I would say the Pakistan government is capable of doing what we're trying to do together, yes".

"In case of (a) United States action against Pakistan, it will be responded to (in line with) the aspirations of the people of Pakistan", the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor said in a brief statement.

Washington said Thursday that security assistance to Islamabad was on hold until the Pakistani government took "decisive action" against terror groups on its territory, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network.

There will be exemptions, and officials refused to put a figure on how much Pakistan will lose out on if it fails to cooperate.

Rana said the US needs Pakistan if it wants to find a peaceful end to decades of turmoil, and if it wants to navigate the changing circumstances in neighboring Iran, which has seen anti-government protests in recent days.

"So they know exactly what it is that we've asked of them", the official added.

USA has been holding regular talks with Pakistan, the official said, adding that they do not believe that talks are an impasse as reported in some section of the media. In 2011, Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, told a Senate committee that the Haqqani network was a "veritable arm" of the Pakistani security service. "The most likely scenario is that Pakistan could shut down North Atlantic Treaty Organisation supply routes on its soil, which would make America's hard war effort in Afghanistan all the more challenging". "Effects of action against the Haqqani network will be visible in due time", he said. The foreign minister responded that his country had little trust in the United States as well.

On Friday, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry rejected the designation, saying it was not based on objective criteria.

"It's north of $255 million", said one USA official. Noting that a country is going to react very differently to an irreversible step, the official hoped Pakistan would react differently that they would react to something which is reversible. The U.S. originally increased funding to Pakistan in 2002 as part of its war on terror, and the Obama administration made Pakistan a priority as it planned to capture the terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

CSF funds, which fall under Defense Department authority, are covered by the freeze, said Pentagon spokesman Commander Patrick Evans, saying Congress authorized up to $900 million in such money for Pakistan for fiscal year 2017, which ended September 30. Under the CSF, the US haD paid out well over $10 billion since 2001, he said.

It further goes on to say that Pakistan has posed a dilemma for the United States for long, and the Trump administration's announcement this week that it would freeze almost all military aid to Pakistan, roughly Dollars 1.3 billion annually, should for now just be seen as an act of initial frustration and bombast.

Latest News