Political leaders react after Trump's Pakistan aid statement

US is making Pakistan a target of its confusion and uncertainty, says PPP's Sherry Rehman


KARACHI: Political leaders reacted sharply to the statement by US President Donald Trump regarding aid to Pakistan. 

Trump tweeted that the United States had foolishly given Pakistan over $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years.

In his tweet, Trump accused Pakistan of given nothing but lies and deceit thinking US leaders to be fools. “They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” 

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, in a reply to the US president's tweet, said Pakistan will let the world know the truth and will be responding to Trump's tweet.

He added that there is a difference between facts and fiction.

Speaking on Geo News Capital Talk, the foreign minister said Pakistan has already refused to ‘do more’ for the United States.

“We have already told the US that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance,” Asif said in an exclusive interview with Geo News.

“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 added.

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman said that the US is making Pakistan a target of its confusion and uncertainty.

She added, in reference to the amount paid to the country by the US, that Pakistan has not taken any traffic charges on trucks supplying NATO in Afghanistan till date.

She also advised the current leadership to talk directly with the US and refrain from engaging in a war of words. 

The PPP senator also said that Coalition Support Funds has never been counted as aid in Pakistan, nor will it be seen as part of assistance given by the US. 

"It was compensation on expenses incurred regarding the joint action on the border." 

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said US is "no longer interested in defeating terrorism."

PTI leader Asad Umer said that the world's strongest military force has nothing to show of its 16-year long presence in Afghanistan but failure and is incapable even of a graceful exit. 

He praised the Pakistani armed forces for carrying out a highly successful anti-terrorist operation and asked the US to stop trying to use the US as an excuse for its failure. 

PTI's Shireen Mazari was also vocal in her criticism and referred to Trump and the US as shameless. 

She said Pakistan has sacrificed its soldiers and citizens in a "war which we should never have done".

She told the US to keep its money and advised that the government should immediately stop giving US ground and air lines of communication.

The PTI leader further added that Pakistan should account for the number of US diplomats and citizens in Pakistan, including those working for NGOs, and send the excessive numbers back. 

"Enough is enough! We have been humiliated enough."

Another PTI leader, Arif Alvi, said the tweet by the US president degraded the people of Pakistan and forgets that the people have suffered due to US policies in the region. 

He added that Pakistan has suffered more casualties, both civilian and military, to fight terror being "ignited by Jerusalem like decisions. He also claimed the country has suffered more than $100 billion in losses. 

Awami Muslim League Chief Sheikh Rashid said the US does not know how to be a friend with another country. 

Rashid alleged that the US has become closer to India and the moves are due to the close relationship between the two countries.

‘Pakistan has done enough, time for Afghanistan and US to do more’

In a news conference held on 28 December, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR), Major General Asif Ghafoor stated no organised infrastructure of a terrorist organisation exists in Pakistan. His statement was in reference to the unfounded talk by the US and Afghanistan on the presence of terrorist bases in Pakistan.

“We have been saying that Pakistan has fought twice an imposed and imported war inside Pakistan. We have sacrificed a lot. We have paid a huge price both in blood and treasure. We have done enough and we cannot do any more for anyone. Whatever we are doing and shall, will only be done for Pakistan.”

The spokesperson clarified that the Coalition Support Fund, received from the US, is reimbursement of money spent for operations in support of the coalition for regional peace.

"Had we not supported, al-Qaeda would not have been defeated," the ISPR chief stated.

Commenting on blaming Pakistan for inaction against the Haqqani Network, Ghafoor said: “Blame for inaction against [the] Haqqani Network might have been relevant owing to our capacity issues till Zarb-e-Azb".

However, he added, the Army went into North Waziristan indiscriminately and took action against the Haqqani Network as well. “The effect of any operation does not appear at that time. What we do today or this year, the impact will be felt in subsequent years and months.”

He further said that if there any facilitators or abettors inside Pakistan, that can only be addressed if 2.7 million Afghan refugees are sent back to Afghanistan for which pull factors should be created by Kabul and Washington.

Trump puts Pakistan on 'notice'

US Vice President Mike Pence, during an unannounced trip to Afghanistan in December, said; "Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our efforts in Afghanistan. The days to shelter terrorists have gone. It has much to lose by continuing to harbour terrorists."

He had added that President Trump has "put Pakistan on notice for providing safe haven" to the terrorists on its soil.

"For too long Pakistan has provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organisations, but those days are over.. President Trump has put Pakistan on notice," Pence told American troops at the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan.