Pakistan’s National Security Committee, headed by its prime minister and its president, leader of the opposition, state chief ministers and three services chiefs as other members, has outrightly rejected US President Donald Trump’s South Asia policy which criticised Pakistan heavily for not doing enough and promoting terrorism in Afghanistan in spite of taking US aid money in the name of cracking down on Afghan terror groups like the Haqqani Network and the Taliban operating from Pakistan.
The Pak NSC meeting was held in Islamabad today to discuss Trump’s revamped South Asia policy focusing on Afghanistan. After the meeting, Nafees Zakaria, spokesperson of Pakistan’s foreign ministry, in a series of tweets, said that the NSC outrightly rejected allegations against Pakistan adding that making Pakistan a scapegoat would not help in stabilizing Afghanistan.
NEW US POLICY ON AFGHANISTAN
Under his government’s Afghanistan Policy, Trump has announced several departures from his established stand to withdraw the US from the war-torn South Asian nation. The new US policy on Afghanistan pushes for increasing the number of US troops in Afghanistan and gives the forces free hand to handle insurgents instead of micro-managing them from the Washington. Also, developing a strategic partnership with India is going to be a critical part of new US’ strategy for South Asia in future as per the revamped policy.
Trump has also slammed Pakistan and has warned that the US will no longer be silent about Pakistan’s double-dealings. He has demanded that this Pakistan attitude of doublespeak has to change immediately.
Pakistan is naturally more pained at the prospect of a larger Indian role in Afghanistan which it sees inimical to its interests and the Pak NSC observed that India cannot be a net security provider in the South Asia region it has conflictual relationships with all its neighbours and is pursuing a policy of destabilizing Pakistan from the east and the west, a Radio Pakistan release on the meeting said.
PAKISTAN REPEATS ANTI-INDIA RANT
Repeating the anti-India rant, the Pak committee expressed deep concern at Indian policies inimical to peace in the region including interference in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries and using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
Pakistan, it seems, is also pained at Trump’s charges of taking the US money while not being accountable for it. While unveiling his new South Asia Policy, Trump had said that “the US has been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that US is fighting.”
The NSC of Pakistan rejected this terming it misleading and instead projected Pakistan as a victim, “The claims of billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan are misleading to the extent that the reimbursements to Pakistan since 2001 only account for part of the cost of ground facilities and air corridors used by the United States for its operations in Afghanistan, rather than any financial aid or assistance.”
Well, that is a plain lie. According to a Reuters report, since 2011, Pakistan has received over $15 Billion in US aid including over $5 Billion in economic assistance.
Then contradicting itself, it went on to say that instead of any financial or material assistance, there should be understanding and recognition of Pakistan’s efforts, contributions and sacrifice of thousands of Pakistanis and claimed that Pakistan has suffered over 120 billion US dollars of economic losses due to terrorism.
Pakistan also refuted Trump’s allegations of Pakistan being a safe haven for terrorists and instead blamed Afghanistan for having safe terror havens and demanded effective and immediate US military efforts to eliminate sanctuaries harbouring terrorists and miscreants on the Afghan soil including those responsible for fomenting terror in Pakistan.