David Hale summoned to protest after Trump’s twitter tirade

Islamabad: The Foreign Office also summoned US Ambassador David Hale to convey Pakistan’s strong rejection of President Trump’s Monday’s tweet he threatened to cut off Pakistan’s aid over what he claimed its “lies and deceit” in offering “safe haven to terrorists.”

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” Trump said as the New Year kicked off. “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” certainly evident the relationship between the two countries has hit a new low.

A few days earlier the US media had hinted that the Trump administration might cut off aid to Pakistan because of their frustration with the country over its handling of terrorists. The ties between the two allies have been under stress for quite some time but never has any US president accused Pakistan directly using such words. The presidential blame-game started when Trump announced his South Asia policy in August last year. He accused Pakistan of providing safe havens to agents of chaos, violence, and terror, and that his administration would change its approach towards the region. To avoid a complete breakdown in the relationship, top US officials have visited Pakistan and recognised its sacrifices.

Meanwhile Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif responding to President Trump’s accusations  come up with a rejoinder. “We will respond to President Trump’s tweet shortly Inshallah…Will let the world know the truth…difference between facts & fiction,” he tweeted.

According to the reports, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif soon after Mr Trump’s tirade against Pakistan held a meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to discuss the situation.

In an interview with the Geo News channel in the evening, Khawaja Asif said Pakistan had already done enough. “We have already said no more [to the Americans] so Trump’s no more is of no importance now,” he added.

“We are ready to publicly provide details of the US aid that has been received by the country,” said the minister, adding that Mr Trump was disappointed with the US defeat in Afghanistan and was accusing Pakistan in retaliation. He suggested the US should try and negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan instead of using the armed forces.

Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan in a separate tweet said: “Pak as anti-terror ally has given free to US: land & air communication, military bases & intel cooperation that decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16 yrs, but they have given us nothing but invective & mistrust. They overlook cross-border safe havens of terrorists who murder Pakistanis.”

Khawaja Asif said: “The claim by Trump regarding the funds, if we account for it, they include reimbursements too for the services rendered by Pakistan.”

“Our land, roads, rail and, other different kinds of services were used for which we were reimbursed. A proper audit took place for the reimbursements,” he said. He asked the US to hold accountable those who failed in Afghanistan. He also said that only Afghanistan’s neighbours can find a peaceful solution for regional peace and security.

Asked as to what would be Islamabad’s response if the US carried out drone strikes in Pakistan’s settled areas, he said: “The country will defend its sovereignty”. He said the foreign policy direction is dictated only by the national interest.

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