PAKISTAN ARMY TO US: NO AMOUNT OF COERCION CAN DICTATE US; WE HAVE SPENT 10 TIMES OF WHAT YOU GAVE US

Pakistan Army has reacted sharply on US President Donald Trump’s latest accusation that Pakistan is a liar and deceitful country and did little in the war on terror in spite of receiving $33 Billion of US aid in last 15 years.

In what is being seen a first official response from Pakistan’s most powerful institution that has ruled the country for most of its independent years, in an interview with Geo News, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, Director-General (DG) of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Army, said no amount of coercion could dictate Pakistan and dismissed the US claims on financial military assistance.

The spokesperson said the amount received by Pakistan from US for its participation in the war against terror under the Coalition Support Fund should be seen as reimbursement and not aid, and in fact the amount paid so far by the US to Pakistan, $15-20 Billion, falls hugely short of the amount spent by Pakistan in the same period, “We received an amount between $15-20 billion in coalition funds for our military expenditure in Afghanistan, while the national exchequer incurred $123 billion in losses.”

When asked about reports emerging that the US is not willing to consider Pakistan a friend and ally anymore, he said Pakistan could have chosen the erstwhile USSR as its ally but instead preferred the US and still considers them as allies, “As far as Pakistan is concerned, we consider them as allies. Our relationship has had its ups and downs but still, we are friends.”

He said Pakistan had taken action against the Haqqani Network but the US should give some time for its effects to become visible, “Effects of these operations cannot be visible immediately. Only time will show how effective these operations were in establishing peace within the region.”

He said any misunderstanding between the countries at this juncture would negatively affect their efforts in Afghanistan to establish peace and blamed India for differences between Pakistan and US.

He even tried to paint Nikky Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN and an Indian-American, as responsible for worsening US-Pakistan ties, “US should find out the elements which are aiming at deteriorating the US-Pakistan cooperation.”

He also took on Trump’s new South Asia policy that seeks an increased Indian role in the region and while boasting Pakistan’s nuclear capability, said a single country could not be assigned the role to guarantee peace in the region, “We are a nuclear power and a responsible nation; we don’t need a security guarantee from anyone and will continue our role in establishing peace in the region.”

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN: US CANNOT DICTATE US, ACTION AGAINST HAFIZ SAEED NOT UNDER US PRESSURE

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.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN’S NATIONAL SECURITY COMMITTEE REJECTS TRUMP’S SOUTH ASIA STRATEGY

The article originally appeared on India Today.

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.

©SantoshChaubey