President Donald Trump tore into Pakistan accusing it of giving nothing to the US but “lies and deceit” and providing “safe haven” to terrorists in return for USD 33 billion aid over the last 15 years thinking of American leaders as “fools”.
In his strongest attack against Pakistan yet, Trump in his first tweet of the year on New Year’s day also appeared to suggest he could cut off foreign aid to Pakistan.
“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 in the strongly worded tweet.
“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Trump said.
His remarks come days after the New York Times reported that the US is considering withholding $225 million in aid to Pakistan reflecting its dissatisfaction with the latter’s reluctance in the war against terrorism.
Shortly after Trump’s attack, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif called on Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a Pakistani media report said.
In November, the US had strongly condemned release of the Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed by Pakistan and had demanded his immediate re-arrest and prosecution, warning that there would be “repercussions” for bilateral ties if Islamabad fails to take “decisive action” against the JuD chief. Saeed, who carries a $10 million American bounty on his head for terror activities, walked free after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other case. “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists,” Trump had said in his South Asia Policy speech.
Noting that in the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner, Trump had accused it of providing shelter to the same organisations that try every single day to kill Americans.
“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately,” Trump had said.