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US promises more action against Pakistan

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News Analysis |

The White House on Tuesday afternoon announced that further action would be taken against Pakistan. This was announced by US Press Secretary Sarah Sanders during her media press briefing. What this would consist of would be announced in the next day or two.

She said this in response to a question from a reporter that asked what had precipitated President Trump’s New Year tweet:

‘On Pakistan, what precipitated the President’s tweet about threatening to withhold future U.S. aid?  Is there something in particular that he was either briefed upon or that he noticed?  Because it’s not necessarily a secret that there’s been a long-running dispute between the United States government and Pakistan about how cooperative Pakistan has been with counterterrorism measures and other issues.’

The Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif accused the US President of not knowing the actual amount sent to Pakistan – denying the $33bn number as being correct.

In her answer to this, the US Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders reiterated that the actions to be taken against Pakistan would be in pursuance of its South Asia strategy laid out in August 2017. “The president is simply following through on a commitment that he made,”

Read more: Trump’s New Year message to Pakistan

“We know that Pakistan can do more to fight terrorism, and we want them to step up and do that,” she went on to say “In terms of specific actions, I think you’ll see some more details come out on that in the next 24 to 48 hours.”

The US earlier also confirmed that they would be suspending the $225 million of military aid to Pakistan. Raj Shah, the deputy White House press secretary said, “Pakistan’s actions in support of the South Asia Strategy will ultimately determine the trajectory of our relationship, including future security assistance.” He also said “The United States does not plan to spend the $255 million in FY 2016 foreign military financing for Pakistan at this time.”

He offered that Trump should hire a US-based audit firm “on our expense” to verify the $33 billion aid figure and “let the world know who is lying & deceiving”.

Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN was asked whether the cut in aid was tied to Pakistan’s vote against the US on it moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. She had said it was not tied to the Jerusalem vote but rather its lack of desired action in Afghanistan. 

The White House’s move to suspend military aid on Tuesday has been seen as the first step to implementing President Donald Trump’s pledge to tighten economic restrictions on Pakistan. It comes after the surprise tweet by Trump on New Years day.

Read more: Will Trump’s praise for Pakistan improve ties?

“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 and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,”

Hamid Karzai, ex-President of Afghanistan, welcomed the US President’s tweet.

On Tuesday, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership that sit in the National Security Committee (NSC) and Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, met for over three hours to discuss the US accusations and upon conclusion while they expressed disappointment with the US accusations, they urged against undue reaction and said despite ‘unwarranted allegations, Pakistan cannot act in haste’.

Read more: Trump slams Pakistan; calls upon India to help in Afghanistan

The Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif accused the US President of not knowing the actual amount sent to Pakistan – denying the $33bn number as being correct. He offered that Trump should hire a US-based audit firm “on our expense” to verify the $33 billion aid figure and “let the world know who is lying & deceiving”.


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