Pakistan summons US Charge d'affaires, lodges protest over Trump’s statements

Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua rejects insinuations about OBL, says 'such baseless rhetoric about Pakistan was totally unacceptable'

Mona Khan

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Tuesday summoned the United States charge d'affaires in Pakistan to lodge a protest over the “unwarranted and unsubstantiated allegations” made against the country by US President Donald Trump.

Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua conveyed "her government's disappointment on the recent tweets and comments by the US president" and told the US charge d'affaires "that such baseless rhetoric about Pakistan was totally unacceptable", a statement issued by the FO read.

"Rejecting the insinuations about Osama Bin Laden, the foreign secretary reminded the US charge d'affaires that it was Pakistan's intelligence cooperation that provided the initial evidence to trace the whereabouts of OBL," it added.

Foreign Secretary told the US charge d'affaires that no other country had paid a heavier price than Pakistan in the fight against terrorism. The US leadership had acknowledged on multiple occasions that Pakistan's cooperation had helped in decimating the core al Qaeda leadership and eradicating the threat of terrorism from the region, FO further said.

"The US must not forget that scores of top al Qaeda leaders were killed or captured by active Pakistani cooperation. Pakistan's continued support to the efforts of international community in Afghanistan through ground/ air and sea lines of communication was unquestionably critical to the success of this Mission in Afghanistan," the statement added.

"In the wake of recent US pronouncements to seek political settlement in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US were working in close coordination with other regional stake holders in order to end the prolonged conflict. At this critical juncture, baseless allegations about a closed chapter of history could seriously undermine this vital cooperation," FO asserted.

In an interview to a local news channel on Sunday, Trump had defended his administration's decision to block hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Pakistan, alleging that the country was not doing enough to fight terrorism. He had also accused Islamabad of helping to hide al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.

Following the interview, the US president took to Twitter on Monday and alleged that Pakistan was one of the many countries that took from the United States without giving anything in return.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in response to Trump's interview, said the “record needs to be put straight on Mr Trump’s tirade against Pakistan”.

In a series of tweets, PM Khan noted:

1. No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pakistan decided to participate in US War on Terror.

2. Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war and over $123 billion was lost to the economy. US “aid” was a minuscule $20 billion.

3. Our tribal areas were devastated and millions of people uprooted from their homes. This war drastically impacted the lives of ordinary Pakistanis.

4. Pakistan continues to provide free lines of ground and air communications (GLOCs/ALOCs).

The US president then tweeted, “We no longer pay Pakistan the $Billions because they would take our money and do nothing for us, Bin Laden being a prime example, Afghanistan being another.”

The US had “paid Pakistan billions of dollars and they never informed us he [Osama bin Laden] was living there,” he said, adding that the US should have captured Osama bin Laden long before the 2011 Abbottabad raid.

PM Khan fired back at Trump, saying the US president's "false assertions add insult to the injury Pakistan has suffered in the US War on Terror."