Hours after Washington blocked its $255 million military aid to Islamabad, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday called a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC). Abbasi, who will chair the meeting on Wednesday, is expected to discuss Islamabad’s response to Washington with top officials, reported news agency IANS. The NSC meeting will be attended by Pakistan’s foreign minister, interior minister, minister for defence, services chiefs and senior civil and military officers.
The development comes a day after President Donald Trump said the US had “foolishly” provided Pakistan with financial aid worth $33 billion over the last 15 years. “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. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” the Republican leader tweeted.
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. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s all-weather friend China came to its defence, saying saying the world community should acknowledge Islamabad’s “outstanding contribution” to counter terrorism. “Pakistan has made enormous efforts and sacrifice for the fight against terrorism and has made very outstanding contribution to the global cause of counter terrorism. The international community should acknowledge that,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
Pakistan Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir had earlier responded to Trump saying the country has extended “unprecedented cooperation” to the US for defeating al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. He had added that Afghanistan’s war will not be fought on Pakistan soil, and denied that the country was a safe haven for terrorists.
Pakistan has rejected Trump’s statement, saying it will reveal the truth between “facts and fiction.” The country’s foreign minister Khwaja M Asif had tweeted on Monday, “We will respond to President Trump’s tweet shortly inshallah…will let the world know the truth…difference between facts and fiction.”
Later, on Monday night, the Pakistan Foreign Office summoned US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale late last night and lodged an official protest against Trump’s statement, according to reports.
(With inputs from agencies)