indica Washington Bureau
In yet another stern message to Pakistan, US President Donald Trump has said the $1.3 billion in aid to the country will remain suspended until it acts against safe heavens of militants inside its territory.
“I want Pakistan to help us. We’re no longer paying $1.3 billion to Pakistan. We’re paying them nothing because that’s what they’ve done to help us. Nothing,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.
The statement came after Trump said Pakistan does not do “a damn thing” for the US.
He also said earlier that the US has paid Islamabad billions of dollars but it never told the Americans that the Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was living in that country
In an interview to Fox News, the US President said that people in Pakistan knew that Laden was living in a mansion near their garrison city of Abbottabad, but they did not tell the US and kept on accepting billions of dollars in aid.
“And I cut those payments off a long time ago. We’re not paying Pakistan any money because they’re not helping us at all and we’ll see where it all goes,” Trump said.
Trump also defended his administration’s decision to stop hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Pakistan for not doing enough to curb terrorism and criticized Islamabad for offering a hideout to Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad.
“We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars and they never told us he was living there. Fools!..,” Trump said in a tweet, a day after he told Fox News in an interview that Laden should have been captured long before.
“We no longer pay Pakistan because they would take our money and do nothing for us, Bin Laden being a prime example, Afghanistan being another,” Trump said.
“They were just one of many countries that take from the United States without giving anything in return. That’s ENDING!” he said.
Early this year, Trump announced to stop all security assistance to Pakistan.
“I hope to have a good relationship with Pakistan,” said Trump, indicating that the relationship between the two countries can come back on track if Pakistan took action against terrorist groups and their safe havens.
“But right now, we’re paying Pakistan nothing. I cut them off. They were getting $1.3 billion a year. They’re not getting anything now,” Trump asserted.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said Trump needs to inform himself about historical facts after Trump alleged that Islamabad did not adequately support the Washington-led “war on terror”.
In a series of statements on Twitter on Monday, Khan listed ways in which Pakistan assisted the US and was impacted by the war, saying the “record needs to be put straight on Mr Trump’s tirade against Pakistan”.
“Record needs to be put straight on Mr Trump’s tirade against Pakistan: 1. No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pakistan decided to participate in US War on Terror. 2. Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war & over $123 billion was lost to economy. US “aid” was a miniscule $20 billion,” Khan tweeted.
The Pakistan Prime Minister Khan the US has made Pakistan a “scapegoat” for its failures in Afghanistan, where the Taliban are stronger than at any point since the 2001 US-led invasion.
Husain Haqqani, Former Pakistani Ambassador to the US, asserted that Trump might be incorrect in saying that Pakistan has not done anything for the US.
Over the decades, Pakistan has helped the United States with some of its policy objectives, he said.
Americans have provided over $ 43 billion in military and economic assistance since 1954, helped build Pakistan’s conventional military capability, and bailed Pakistan out of both economic and political crises on several occasions, he said.
Ties between the US and Pakistan strained after Trump, while announcing his Afghanistan and South Asia policy in August last year, hit out at Pakistan for providing safe havens to “agents of chaos” that kill Americans in Afghanistan and warned Islamabad that it has “much to lose” by harboring terrorists.