Pakistan Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir has lashed out at the United States. In an interview with BBC Urdu, Dastgir said “it was not possible anymore for the US to dictate terms to Pakistan by withholding aid,” Geo News reported.
In an apparent effort to maintain tough posture after the latest humiliation by US President Donald Trump, he said the action against Hafiz Saeed’s organizations, Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD), a Lashkar-e-Taiba front, and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), was not taken under US pressure.
Instead, the step was taken under Pakistan Army’s Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad after our own internal assessment and serious deliberation, Dastgir added. Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad or operation for elimination of discord was launched in February with an aim to eliminate the residual and latent threats of terrorism like sleeper cells.
He further said, “It is not that we will take up arms against our own country — that time has passed and these terrorists cannot attack their own country with guns” and asserted that “they would now make calculated decisions so that their children can remain safe in schools”.
Pakistan’s Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a directive which bars JuD, FIF and other organizations listed by the United Nations Security Council from collecting donations. Pakistan’s financial regulator has also prohibited people to make donation to such proscribed organizations and individuals. The action came soon after Trump’s tweet and was largely seen as taken under the US pressure.
After Donald Trump called Pakistan a liar and deceitful country in his very first tweet of the year on January 1, and the US subsequently suspended $255 Million military assistance package to Pakistan, the country has been rushing to find ways to respond to the latest accusation by Trump who has been a tough taskmaster to please and Pakistan has been in his firing line regularly.
The initial response by Pakistan obviously was to downplay the accusation made.
Its Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said the tweet by Trump didn’t hold any importance. Later on, he offered the US conduct an audit of its assistance money with all cost paid by Pakistan. Dastgir exhorted Pakistan was capable of defending its motherland. Three high level meetings, first by Pakistan Army, next by its all powerful National Security Council and the third by its Federal Cabinet have been held and another one is scheduled for Friday to discuss the matter.