ISLAMABAD: Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani, citing diplomatic norms of protocol, said on Monday that the prime minister should not meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his upcoming visit to Pakistan and the country’s foreign minister should instead meet the envoy.
The senator added that the recent cut in aid was part of measures to pressurise Pakistan, and mentioned Pompeo’s statement discouraging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from providing Pakistan with a bailout, saying the money would be used to repay Chinese loans.
This is the second time America was to refund Pakistan’s expenditure on the war on terror, he said referring to the cuts.
The US military on Sunday announced it was cutting $300 million in aid to Pakistan over Islamabad’s failure to take decisive action against militants.
The Coalition Support Funds (CSF) were part of a broader suspension in aid to Pakistan announced by President Donald Trump at the start of the year when he accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with “nothing but lies and deceit.”
Another $500 million in CSF was stripped by Congress from Pakistan earlier this year, to bring the total withheld to $800 million.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf government reacted cautiously to the cuts and insisted the money was not assistance but reimbursements for Pakistan’s expenses in the fight against terrorism.
The announcement, coming just days before the crucial visit of the secretary of state, suggests that the US administration apparently does not expect any concession from the new government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan.