By Aamir Latif
American President Donald Trump started the accusations first, saying his country had “foolishly” given billions of dollars in aid to Islamabad, which in return allegedly provided safe havens to terrorists fighting in the war-stricken country.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 year, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit thinking of our leaders as fool. They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No More,” Trump tweeted.
The remarks are the latest in a series of warnings hurled by top U.S .officials, including Vice President Mike Pence in recent months.
Also, the tweet follows reports that Washington was seriously considering withholding $255 million aid until Islamabad did more to crack down on terrorist groups.
Reacting sharply to Trump’s warning, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said the U.S. Army had used Pakistani land, roads and trains for logistical purposes to serve its interests in Afghanistan.
Asif reminded the U.S. president that the money given to Pakistan was for the services the country provided it, not as charity “for the sake of God”.
“Instead of holding us responsible for its failure in Afghanistan, he [Trump] should hold those accountable who have conceded a failure for the U.S in Afghanistan,” the minister said, according to local television channel Geo.
Asif said Washington was reeling from “frustration” due to its own failures in Afghanistan.
“We are ready to share the details of U.S. aid and its utilization at an open forum,” he said.
He also said Pakistan would give “no importance to ‘No More’ from President Trump as we have already said no more to Washington.”
Relations between the U.S. and Pakistan in the so-called war against terrorism have plummeted to new lows in recent years, mainly due to a clash of interests in war-ravaged Afghanistan.
Pence late last month said at Afghanistan’s Bagram airbase that Trump had “put Pakistan on notice” for allegedly “providing a safe haven to the Taliban and other militant groups”.