NATION FEELING BETRAYED BY US, WILL NOT SEEK REDEMPTION OF AID: PAKISTAN ARMY CHIEF

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that entire Pakistan is feeling betrayed over recent statements from the US questioning Pakistan’s credibility and commitment in the war against terror and the unanimous national response denouncing the US stand was a reflection of that.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, Pakistan Armed Forces media wing, General Bajwa conveyed the prevailing sentiment in Pakistan to General Joseph L Votel, Commander, US Central Command (CENTCOM) during a phone call last week. CENTCOM’s area of responsibility includes 20 nations, from Northeast Africa across the Middle East to Central and South Asia including Afghanistan and Iraq.

General Bajwa said Pakistan will not seek resumption of US aid and will continue with counter terrorism efforts on its own but his country did expect an honourable recognition of its contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in fight against terrorism.

General Bajwa also reiterated the routine Pakistani allegation that US was making it a scapegoat to hide its own failures in Afghanistan.

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor @OfficialDGISPR
Comd USCENTCOM & a US Senator telephoned COAS to discuss security coop post POTUS tweet. “Entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed on trivialising our decade old cooperation. We won’t ask for restoration of financial assistance but honourable recognition of our contributions”, COAS.
4:16 PM – 12 Jan 2018

After US President Donald Trump’s declaration of no more US aid to Pakistan and the subsequent follow up steps and statements from the US Administration calling Pakistan a liar, a deceitful country that employs terror as state policy, there has been a rush of reactions from the Pakistani leadership, both military and civilian.

They say they don’t need US aid and in fact, have spent multiple times of the US aid in the ongoing war against terrorism. They have started alleging that the US has been an ally who has always betrayed. The Pakistani leadership also sees an Indian hand in all this and warns the US from giving India a prominent role in Afghanistan. Pakistan has also suspended intelligence and military cooperation with the US.

The US, on the contrary, feels betrayed by Pakistan’s double-dealings and treachery.

On many occasions, Donald Trump and his government’s senior ministers and officials have spoken openly against Pakistan that how it backstabs the US by harbouring the terror groups that harm US and other coalition forces in Afghanistan. The US has also described Pakistan a safe haven for terrorists in its official records including the Country Report on Terrorism and the Narendra Modi – Donald Trump Joint Statement last year.

Apart from economic and military aid, the US also reimburses Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund for its expenditure incurred on action against terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. But of late, it has started withholding the Fund, alleging that Pakistan has not taken any concrete action against these terror groups.

The US frustration was summed up in the New Year Day tweet by Trump where he slammed Pakistan for giving safe haven to terrorists the US hunts in Afghanistan in spite of receiving more than $33 Billion in US aid over the last 15 years. He then declared that Pakistan would not receive any more US aid.

Following Trump’s tweet, US has withheld $255 Million military financial package to Pakistan for fiscal year 2016 and $900 Million Coalition Support Fund for 2017, the White House has formally asked the country to do more against terror and a US senator is bringing bill to stop all aid to Pakistan and move has been endorsed by Trump.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN CHANTS DEATH TO AMERICA, WILL INTRODUCE BILL TO STOP US AID: SENATOR RAND PAUL

The article originally appeared on India Today on 5 January.

A Republican US Senator has said that he would soon introduce a bill to end US aid to Pakistan.

Rand Paul who represents Kentucky in the US Senate posted a video on Twitter and YouTube in which he said Pakistan had always back-stabbed the United States and should not receive even a penny of US taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

He says the US should not give even one penny to countries like Pakistan, that burn the American flag and chant death to America.

He asserts that countries like Pakistan that stonewall access to information in fighting terrorism don’t deserve American money and goes on to appeal, “I say we should stop now sending the hard-earned tax dollars to Pakistan. We have sent Pakistan over $33 Billion since 2002. What did we get for it?”

Highlighting Pakistan’s double-dealings and treachery, he further says, “Pakistan didn’t help us even in finding Osama bin Laden even though he was living in one of their cities for years. Then they jailed the informant who helped us get bin Laden. They have allowed suspected terrorist to operate from their country. Some say Pakistani intelligence agents actually aid and abate terrorists. It is wrong.”

Citing US President Donald Trump’s New Year Day announcement a breakthrough, that enough was enough and no more aid to Pakistan as the country had only lied and deceived America in the name of helping in the war on terror in spite of receiving $33 Billion of US aid in last 15 years, Rand says he is going to introduce a bill in coming days to end aid to Pakistan.

“President Trump has publicly called to end their aid, and is currently holding up over $200 million of it. I want to end all of it and I am introducing a bill to do just that in coming days”, he added.

He says his bill intends to take the money that would have gone to Pakistan and put it in an infrastructure fund to build roads and bridges back at home.

In another video message posted on YouTube that shows people in Pakistan burning Indian, American and Israeli flags and demonstrating against Donald Trump, Senator Paul asks some tough questions.

He says the continued US gesture makes no sense, “What I find particularly troubling is, US continues to give money to Pakistan over a billion dollar of taxpayers’ money, to a country that imprisons the gentleman, the physician who helped us get Osama bin Laden” and concludes that as Pakistan only understands negotiation from strength so he is proposing a vote on ending aid to the country.

Senator Rand Paul has been fighting to end US aid to countries like Pakistan and in fact came up with a bill to stop US aid to the Palestinian authority in 2015. And the time seems opportune this time as both, Pakistan and Palestine, are on Donald Trump’s radar.

President Trump has threatened to stop US aid to Palestine as well.

After Trump’s New Year Day shocker, his administration has, in fact, increased pressure on Pakistan manifold and the message is clear, shape in or shape out.

First America withheld a scheduled $255 million military financial assistance to Pakistan the same day Trump tweeted his intent. Then White House came with a statement asking Pakistan to do more in the war on terror.

Yesterday it sent Pakistan a list of 27 Haqqani Network terrorists and demanded action against them by 15 January and shortly before Rand Paul’s video message, in another decisive blow to Pakistan, announced that it was suspending all military, technological and financial assistance to Pakistan till it shows proof that it has taken decisive action against terrorists.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN WILL BECOME ANOTHER NORTH KOREA IF IT DOESN’T STOP NUCLEAR BLACKMAIL: US

The article originally appeared on India Today on 5 January.

US National Security General H R McMaster has said that Pakistan uses terror as state policy and goes after terrorists ‘very selectively’ and if the country tries its nuclear capability as a lever to blackmail others, it would end up as another North Korea.

McMaster, a former US Army General, was speaking on US President Donald Trump’s New Year Day tweet on Pakistan in a Voice of America interview.

He said that the tweet speaks for itself where Trump blamed Pakistan for being a lying and deceitful country in spite of receiving huge US aid and helping those very terrorists the US hunts in the Afghanistan and pledged ‘no more US aid to Pakistan’.

McMaster said Pakistan’s double-dealings have frustrated Donald Trump and America. He said by very selectively going after terror groups, hitting some while choosing others as an arm of its foreign policy, Pakistan has not only betrayed the values America hoped would make for a great partnership, but also its own people.

“What’s frustrating at times is we see Pakistan operating against the interests of its own people by going after these groups only selectively, by providing safe havens and support bases for Taliban and Haqqani network leadership that operate out of Pakistan as they perpetuate hell in portions of Pakistan and in Afghanistan,” he said.

“America has great sympathy for the Pakistani people and in particular, how much they’ve suffered at the hands of terrorists who have victimized so many Pakistanis with mass murders, with that horrible mass murder in a school a few years ago,” McMaster says in the interview and emphasizes that for its own sake, the Pakistani government must go after these groups less selectively.

Putting the Trump tweet in a clear perspective, his NSA says this is not a blame game but an effort to communicate clearly to Pakistan that the US relationship can no longer bear the weight of contradictions, and that we have to really begin now to work together to stabilize Afghanistan, emphasizing that doing so would hugely benefit Pakistan.

PAKISTAN WOULDN’T WANT TO BECOME A PARIAH STATE

McMaster warns if Pakistan doesn’t want to become a pariah state, it will have to stop going after terror groups only selectively, and will have to stop providing safe havens and support bases and other forms of support for leadership.

On asking if any other country may step in to aid Pakistan in case the US pulls out, McMaster says he doesn’t think any country including China would like Pakistan to continue its support for terror groups like the Taliban or the Haqqani Network.

China may be Pakistan’s all-weather friend and has defended Pakistan in the wake of Trump tweet but it has a terrorist problem on its southern border that does have connections back into Pakistan, “It’s not going to be any other country in the region, certainly, who will want Pakistan to continue this, really, pattern of behaviour that we’ve seen, where it goes after these groups only selectively, while it sustains and supports others who act as an arm of its foreign policy.”

NUCLEAR BLACKMAIL WILL MAKE PAKISTAN ANOTHER NORTH KOREA

On the possibility of Pakistan using its nuclear capability as a leveraging tool, or to extort or blackmail, something that North Korea is doing, McMaster says he doesn’t think so, “It would just be unwise for any Pakistani leader – I can’t imagine a Pakistani leader using nuclear weapons to extort or for blackmail. That’s the day when Pakistan would become North Korea.”

He puts a very vital question before the Pakistani leadership, “Does Pakistan want to become North Korea? Doesn’t look too appealing a model to me. So, I think Pakistan could be on a path to increase security and prosperity, or it could be on a path to replicating North Korea. I think that’s an easy choice for Pakistani leaders.”

©SantoshChaubey

GOOD IDEA! SAYS DONALD TRUMP ON BILL TO END ALL FINANCIAL AID TO PAKISTAN

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

US President Donald Trump has supported the move by his party’s Senator Rand Paul to bring a bill in the US Congress to end all financial assistance to Pakistan.

Trump, while retweeting Rand Paul’s tweet this morning about bringing such a proposal, said it was a good idea. Rand Paul, a Republican Senator had tweeted yesterday that he was going to introduce a bill to end all aid to Pakistan.

Donald J. Trump Retweeted Senator Rand Paul

Rand Paul posted a video message along with his tweet where he voiced concern over Pakistan’s double-dealings and treachery saying the US should not give even a penny to Pakistan. He says the US should stop wasting taxpayers’ hard-earned money on a country that prides in burning the American flag and chanting death to America. Instead, the money can put to better use here, in America, he adds.

Rand Paul narrates how Pakistan has betrayed America, “Pakistan didn’t help us even in finding Osama bin Laden even though he was living in one of their cities for years. Then they jailed the informant who helped us get bin Laden. They have allowed suspected terrorist to operate from their country. Some say Pakistani intelligence agents actually aid and abate terrorists.”

2018 has come as a shocker for US-Pakistan ties. On the New Year Day, Donald Trump announced on Twitter that from now onward no more US aid to Pakistan. His blunt declaration called Pakistan a lying and deceitful country that had betrayed the American trust by sheltering the terrorists who harm US interests in Afghanistan in spite of receiving $33 Billion over the last 15 years.

Trump’s tweet began a rapid downward spiral in US-Pakistan ties that was already strained after Trump’s inaugural as the President of America last year. Trump has been a vocal Pakistan critic highlighting Pakistan’s betrayals like housing Osama bin Laden, Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network, the terror groups on the radar of the US.

Soon after Trump’s New Year Day tweet, the US announced to withhold military financial assistance to Pakistan worth $255 Million and yesterday, it announced to suspend all aid to Pakistan, technological and financial, till Pakistan came out clean on its responsibility to wipe out all forms of terror emanating from its soil. Since the New Year Day, the White House has released a formal statement demanding Pakistan to do more against terror and has handed over a list of 27 Haqqani Network terrorists against whom it wants action by 15 January.

©SantoshChaubey

US AND PAKISTAN NO LONGER FRIENDS, SAYS PAKISTAN’S FOREIGN MINISTER

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has declared US and Pakistan are no longer friends and the bilateral ties need a serious revisit. He, in fact, was so acerbic during an interview that he went on the say that US was a friend who always betrayed and added that in case of any US aggression, “Pakistan would respond in a manner that would reflect the nation’s will.”

“The US behaviour is neither that of an ally nor of a friend. It is a friend who always betrays,” Asif said in a television interview. He said Pakistan could survive without the US assistance as it had done during the Pressler Amendment, “They did it in the past as well, which is evident from our history. They have always betrayed us in hard times.” He also advocated a tough resolution by the Pakistani parliament on the issue reflecting the national sentiment.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister doubted US motives in Afghanistan, blaming a nexus between US and India as, according to him, instability in the region suits both, “They, the US and allies, have best and highly equipped forces. How come they could not perform in Afghanistan? Why there is 9000 tons of opium being produced in Afghanistan and why is Daesh present there in as much as nine provinces.”

Asif asserted that his views on the matter should be seen as Pakistan’s official response as “he had no individual worth and he was just a public representative.”

Asif’s blunt remarks contradict the stand taken by the Pakistan Army on US President Donald Trump’s latest accusation that Pakistan has given the US nothing but lies and deceit thinking of US leaders as fools and now is the time to stop the financial aid to Pakistan. He blamed Pakistan for giving safe haven to the terrorists the US hunts in Afghanistan in spite of receiving $33 Billion of US aid in last 15 years.

After Trump’s latest accusation, the US withheld scheduled $255 million military financial assistance to Pakistan. The White House released a statement asking Pakistan to do more in the war on terror and today came up with a list of 27 Haqqani Network terrorists and wants action against them by 15 January.

In Pakistan Army’s first official response yesterday, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, Director-General (DG) of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Army, though had said that no amount of coercion could dictate Pakistan but had also added that* “as far as Pakistan was concerned, it considered them (the US) as allies” declaring that “the Pakistan-US relationship has had its ups and downs but still, they were friends.”

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 the country as its ally.

He, in fact, termed the US-Pakistan tension an issue of misunderstanding. 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.”

©SantoshChaubey

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

AUDIT OUR EXPENSES, PAKISTAN MINISTER FIRES BACK AT TRUMP; REPORT SAYS ISLAMABAD PLANNING REVIEW OF TIES

The article originally appeared on India Today.

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Mike Pence Warns Pakistan, Pakistan in Denial, Pakistan Isolated, Pakistan Terror Groups, Safe Haven, Terror Haven, Trump Afghanistan Policy, Trump South Asia Policy, US Pakistan Ties, US Puts Pakistan on Notice, US South Asia Policy

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said Donald Trump could hire a US-based audit firm to verify the USD 33 billion figure he cited in a furious tweet on New Year’s Day.

In that post, the US President lamented that the US had “foolishly given” Pakistan that amount of money over a 15-year period. In return, Pakistan had given Washington “nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” he added.

“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” he said. The news agency PTI later quoted a White House official as saying the US, “does does not plan to spend the USD 255 million in FY 2016 in Foreign Military Financing for Pakistan at this time.”

In response to Trump’s tweet, Khawaja Asif suggested that an audit would “let the world know who is lying and deceiving.”

REVISION OF TIES

Meanwhile, the Pakistani newspaper Express Tribune reported today – citing sources – that Islamabad “will completely revise its relations policy” with the US, if “if the US reduces or suspends aid to Pakistan or places any sanctions.”

The newspaper also quoted sources as saying Pakistan “has…decided to reduce dependency on the US in different fields and look for alternatives.”

“It will also speed up the process of implementing its strategy for increasing diplomatic, trade and other relations with China, Russia and other countries,” the Tribune said.

EMERGENCY MEETING

Today, Pakistan held an emergency meeting of its National Security Council, in a desperate bid to find a way to respond to Trump’s accusations.

The meeting was chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and was attended by the Khawaja Asif, Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, navy and air-force chiefs and other high-ranking civil and military officers. Pakistan has also called a Federal Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Its Parliamentary Committee on National Security will meet on Friday to discuss the matter.

“The meeting discussed the way forward in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s recent anti Pakistan remarks,” is all that a three-line Radio Pakistan brief said after the meeting.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN QUESTIONS RATIONALE BEHIND TRUMP’S LATEST ACCUSATIONS BUT DESISTS FROM ISSUING AN OFFICIAL RESPONSE

Pakistan today held the emergency meeting of its National Security Council in a desperate bid to find a way to respond to the latest accusations levelled against it by US President Donald Trump but no details of the meeting have been made public so far. “The meeting discussed the way forward in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s recent anti Pakistan remarks,” is all that a three-line Radio Pakistan brief said after the meeting.

But Khawaja Asif, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, did indicated what transpired in the meeting when he questioned the the rationale behind Trump’s latest accusations. In a tweet, after the meeting, he questioned the figure of $33billion quoted by Trump and asserted that “he can hire a US based Audit firm on Pakistan’s expense to verify the figure and let the world know who is lying and who is deceiving.”

The meeting was called after the most direct and hard hitting warning by Trump yesterday that Pakistan had given the US nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of US leaders as fools in spite of the US giving Pakistan more than $33 Billion in aid over the last 15 years.

Trump, in his first tweet of 2018, termed the US aid to Pakistan by his predecessors foolish as Pakistan gives safe haven to the terrorists the US has been hunting in Afghanistan and declared that there would be no help to Pakistan. No more! In what is being seen as a follow up of Trump’s tweet to tell Pakistan that the US is going to walk the talk this time, it soon suspended a part of its military assistance to Pakistan, $255 Million for FY2016, linking it with how Pakistan is going to behave in future.

The meeting was chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and was attended by the Khawaja Asif, Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, its navy and air-force chiefs and other high-ranking civil and military officers. Pakistan has also called its Federal Cabinet meeting on Wednesday while its Parliamentary Committee on National Security will meet on Friday to discuss the matter.

The all-important NSC meeting, seeking a desperate way to respond to the latest Trump warning saw the Pak envoy in the US, Aizaz Chaudhry, being summoned. The meeting had inputs of Pakistan army to shape its response. Shortly before the NSC meeting, Pakistan army held its Corps Commanders’ conference and prepared its list of suggestions on Pakistan’s official response, Dawn News* reported.

INITIAL RESPONSE BY PAKISTAN

The initial response by Pakistan yesterday was to downplay the Trump tweet. Its Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, while reacting on Trump’s charges, said it held no importance, “We have already told the US that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance.” He said Pakistan was “ready to give all account for every single penny to America in public”. The country’s Defence Minister exhorted that Pakistan was capable of defending its motherland. Pakistan even summonsed the US envoy in Pakistan, David Hale, to lodge its protest on Trump’s tweet.

TRUMP’S LATEST IS NOT UNEXPECTED

Trump’s tough talk came a week after the US Vice-president Mike Pence had warned that the US President had put Pakistan on notice for its dubious role in the war against terror. While on a surprise visit to Afghanistan on 22 December, Pence had bluntly warned that “for too long Pakistan had provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organisations but those days were over as President Trump had put Pakistan on notice.”

Before that, while unveiling his first National Security Strategy on 18 December, Trump had given Pakistan some tough dressing-down reminding Pakistan that it owed to the US, “We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help.”

PAKISTAN NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL

Pakistan’s National Security Council is the country’s most powerful policy group on national security and foreign policy matters. The country’s president is its chairman and its members include the country’s prime minister, other senior ministers, three services chiefs, leader of the opposition, chairman of Pakistan’s senate, speaker of Pakistan’s national assembly, provincial chief ministers and other senior officials like the intelligence chiefs and the national security advisor. It is said that the NSC was created with the sole intention to formalize the Pakistani military policymaking role.

Earlier, on August 25, Pakistan had to convene an emergency meeting of its NSC after Donald Trump unveiled his Afghanistan centric South Asia policy which called Pakistan a terror haven and a treacherous nation involved in double-dealings. The revamped US policy in Afghanistan has major role for India in the country, something that has unnerved Pakistan.

Then the Pak NSC had outrightly rejected the US policy and the claims made in it, like it has done today, repeating the routine Pakistani bluster that the US is making Pakistan a scapegoat to hide its own failures in Afghanistan.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN HITS BACK AFTER HARSHEST US WARNING, DRAGS INDIA IN ITS RETORT

The article originally appeared on India Today on 22 December.

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.

©SantoshChaubey