Pakistan has hit back after the harshest warning from the US on terror havens in the country. Its Foreign Office has released a statement objecting to the language used by US Vice-President Mike Pence that President Donald Trump has put Pakistan on notice on terror havens including Taliban and Haqqani network.
The statement released by the spokesperson of Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign said the comments made by Pence were “at variance with the extensive conversations Pakistan has had with the US administration” on the issue.
Earlier in the day, US Vice-President Pence, while making a surprise visit to the Bagram Airfield, the largest US military base in Afghanistan, had bluntly warned Pakistan that it could no longer escape the writing on the wall that either act on terror havens on your land or face the wrath of Donald Trump, “For too long Pakistan has provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organisations, but those days are over as President Trump has put Pakistan on notice.”
Reacting on Pence’s remarks, the statement from Pakistan further said that “allies do not put each other on notice” adding that “on notice should be those factors responsible for exponential increase in drug production, expansion of ungoverned spaces, industrial scale corruption, breakdown of governance and letting Daesh (ISIS) gain a foothold in Afghanistan.”
Pakistan is also peeved at US putting India in a pivotal position in its new Afghanistan strategy that Donald Trump revealed in August.
Pakistan has time and again ranted about that it cannot accept an increased Indian role in Afghanistan and today’s remarks by Pence again gave it a chance to vent out its frustration on that front.
While terming Pence’s warning worrisome, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua urged “the US to treat both Pakistan and India on an equal footing.” Reiterating the usual Pakistani stand that it has destroyed all terror havens from its soil, the foreign secretary called US statements on the issue ‘one-sided’.
Relations between Pakistan and the US are going through a rough patch these days with US putting its ally in war against terror on tight notice to crack down on terror network on its soil including the Haqqani network that harm US interests in Afghanistan.
To counter the US pressure, Pakistan has resorted to lame rhetoric that it has no terror havens, that it doesn’t need US financial aid, that it will not tolerate Indian footprint in Afghanistan and that the US, in frustration on its own failures in Afghanistan, is trying to sift blame to Pakistan.
The anger and disappointment on Pakistan’s attitude has gone on to the extent that the US has stopped the part of its economic assistance to the country to take action against the Haqqani Network and has even threatened to end its US ally status. In spite of Pakistan’s claims and reassurances, the Trump administration has refused to budge from its stand on Pakistan that the country is a terror haven and is involved in double-dealings and treachery on terror emanating from its soil that carry out regular attack on US and coalition forces in Afghanistan.