Pakistan angered by Trump's aid freeze, terrorist "safe haven" remark

The writer is a development anthropologist. He teaches at George Washington University

The writer is a development anthropologist. He teaches at George Washington University

However, the U.S. is only stopping the security aid, the humanitarian assistance to Pakistan will continue.

Responding to questions, Mattis said Pakistan was capable of "of doing what we're trying to do together".

Sources in Washington DC told The Indian Express that the freeze was "temporary" and could be lifted if Pakistan "changed its ways".

Major General Asif Ghafoor Bajwa has stated on Friday that Pakistan Army is powerful force without aid of the United States (US) as well. USA aid agencies alone gave nearly $5 million to Pakistan in 2017, according to data from USAID.

ISPR DG said in an interview with a USA media outlet that putting Pakistan on watch list for religious freedom violations would affect cooperation between the two states over peace and security. The impact of the USA decision on pursuit of common objectives is also likely to emerge more clearly in due course of time, Pakistan's Foreign Office said in a statement in Islamabad.

'There are considerable risks for the USA because Pakistan could retaliate in ways that would be very problematic for US regional interests, ' he said, such as curtailing intelligence cooperation and USA supply lines into Afghanistan.

"If Pakistan today sees significant improvement in security achieved through a series of major counter-terrorism operations resulting in elimination of organized terrorist presence, then this has also directly served United States national interests as well as the larger interests of worldwide community".

While the Foreign Office gives no details of this "engagement", and what exact details are wanted from Washington over this suspension, nevertheless Islamabad did not shy away from stating that while it was determined to continue fighting terrorism with or without U.S. assistance, to-date its own resources ran into over $120 billion in 15 years to keep terrorism at bay. The U.S. has given Pakistan billions in aid over the years since 2002, but most of that funding has gone to military efforts to advance U.S. security interests.

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A Pakistani motorcyclist rides over images of President Donald Trump and a US flag on a street in Lahore. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. "But at this time that's what is suspended", the official said.

Pakistan has however taken the high road by keeping lines of communication open and "engaging" through diplomatic channels.

"There are legitimate reasons to cut back funding to Pakistan, but winning a Twitter war isn't one of them", he said.

"People have long asked, why don't you do more about Pakistan, and I think this sort of answers that question", she said.

It said the war on terrorism was being fought for ensuring peace across the globe.

The spokesperson, however, made clear that the action had nothing to do with Pakistan not taking action against the Mumbai terror attack mastermind and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed. Earlier Thursday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the policy on military aid was 'still being formulated'.

The official added Trump has suspended the aid after no promising results were reported to him despite four months of high-level engagement with Pakistan.

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