NSC decides not to take measures in haste post Trump statement

Corps Commanders Conference discussed input for the National Security Committee meeting


ISLAMABAD: The National Security Committee (NSC) expressed its disappointment over US President Donald Trump's anti-Pakistan statement and decided not to take measures in haste in reply to US accusations.

The high-level huddle of the country's civilian and military leadership, chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, came after Trump's tweet and threat to cut Pakistan's aid.

"The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools," Trump said in the early-morning New Year's day tweet. "They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!"

The committee stated that the country is undeterred in its resolve for establishing peace in Pakistan and has fought the war on terror with unflinching resolve. 

The statement further added that during visits by US officials, it was decided to move forward with mutual trust and cooperation, which would also lead to stability in Afghanistan.

Trump's comments "struck with great insensitivity" and "negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation", further said the statement.

Elaborating further, the NSC stated that Pakistan can not be blamed for failures in Afghanistan and accusing allies will not lead to the establishment of peace in the neighbouring country.

It added that large areas of Afghanistan are outside the government's writ and have become safe havens for terrorists which endanger the region. 

Pakistan also voiced its support for the Afghan government's efforts for peace, with the NSC agreeing that peace in Afghanistan is not only linked to peace and stability in the region but also important for peace in the world. 

Referring to the international coalition operating in Afghanistan, the Pakistani leadership stated that the country, even today, is helping the coalition. The committee further said Pakistan's anti-terrorism operations have wiped out al-Qaeda from the region. 

The NSC also said that the Pakistani nation knows how to defend itself and vowed to continue efforts for stability in the region, adding that the country fought the war on terror with its limited economy and resources. 

"The huge sacrifices made by Pakistan... could not be trivialised so heartlessly by pushing all of it behind a monetary value - and that too an imagined one," said the statement.

Sources said it was also decided during the NSC meeting to summon a parliamentary meeting to discuss the anti-Pakistan statement by Trump and take the parliamentary leaders into confidence over Pakistan's response. 

The meeting was originally scheduled to take place on Wednesday along with a meeting of the federal cabinet. 

According to reports, the NSC meeting was briefed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Pakistan's diplomatic efforts, while the Director General Military Operations also briefed on the efforts taken in the fight against terrorism. 

Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Aizaz Chaudhry, arrived in Pakistan to attend the NSC meeting. He was expected to brief the NSC on his meeting with high-level officials in the US. 

On Monday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office summoned US Ambassador David Hale to record a protest over Trump’s tweet.

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.

The foreign minister, following the tweet by Trump, called on Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, sources informed Geo News. The meeting held a detailed review of Trump's statement, sources added, besides discussing the country's foreign policy.

Corps Commanders discuss input for NSC meeting

The Corps Commanders Conference was held at the General Headquarters and discussed input for the National Security Committee meeting.

The Corps Commanders also reviewed the geo-strategic environment and internal security situation.  

'Pakistan capable of defending itself'

Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir, in response to Trump’s tweet, said that Pakistan is fully capable of defending its motherland.

The soldiers of Pakistan Armed Forces and civilians have given great sacrifices in the war against terrorism, he told a private news channel after Trump lashed out at Pakistan with threats to cut aid over "lies" about militancy.

Commenting on the tweet, Dastagir said Pakistan had extended unprecedented cooperation to the US for eliminating al-Qaeda from its soil and Afghanistan, besides fighting the war against terrorism.

Pakistan does not have any safe haven for terrorists, he said.

The terrorists from Afghanistan have targetted our armed forces and civilians due to which Pakistan has had to suffer a lot, the defence minister said.

He made it clear that Afghanistan's war would not be fought from the soil of Pakistan.

'Trump briefed by enemies of Pakistan'

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairperson Imran Khan said Trump was briefed by the enemies of Pakistan. "He [Trump] was working on the agenda of Pakistan's enemies." 

Imran stressed that the US president was not aware of the realities in Afghanistan and the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan. “Trump has no understanding of the war on terror and the destruction caused in Pakistan," Imran said, adding “everyone knows the damages this has caused to our economy. 70,000 people have been killed in the war which had nothing to do with Pakistan.”

‘US no longer interested in defeating terrorism’

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a series of tweets said that the US was no longer interested in defeating terrorism.

Bilawal added that Trump needed to be explained the difference between coalition support fund reimbursement for work done and US aid ostensibly given for humanitarian reasons.

'Trump statement irresponsible’

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif called Trump’s statement irresponsible. He stressed that Trump had levelled serious allegations against Pakistan and the entire nation needed to be united in its reply.