PM Imran gets tough, snubs Trump | Pakistan Today

PM Imran gets tough, snubs Trump

–PM says US should assess its own efficacy in Afghanistan instead of blaming Pakistan for its failures

–Says Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in war on terror and lost over $123bn of which US aid was a ‘miniscule $20bn’

–Trump repeats allegations against Pakistan, says country never told US Bin Laden was living [in Abbottabad]

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday rejected US President Donald Trump’s remarks against Pakistan, suggesting that Washington should assess its success in Afghanistan instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for its failures.

While speaking to Fox News on Sunday, President Trump sought to justify his administration’s decision at the start of 2018 to pull military aid to Pakistan by linking it to al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden being found in Pakistan in 2011.

“They [Pakistan] don’t do a damn thing for us,” the US president had said.

Speaking of the compound in Abbottabad where bin Laden was found in 2011, Trump said the bin Ladens had been “living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there”.

However, contrary to Trump’s insinuations, former US president Barack Obama had said last year: “We had no evidence that Pakistan was aware of his presence — that is something that we looked at.”

Trump also added that the US used to give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year, but doesn’t anymore. “I ended it because they don’t do anything for us.”

The US president again repeated his allegations against Pakistan on Monday, tweeting that Pakistan was one of many countries that took money from the US without giving anything in return.

“We no longer pay Pakistan the $Billions because they would take our money and do nothing for us, Bin Laden being a prime example, Afghanistan being another,” the US president said in a series of tweets.

In an earlier tweet, Trump said the US had “paid Pakistan billions of dollars and they never informed us he [Osama bin Laden] was living there.”

Trump in his tweet said the US should have captured Osama bin Laden long before the 2011 Abbottabad raid. “I pointed him out in my book just before the attack on the World Trade Center. President Clinton famously missed his shot,” Trump tweeted.

‘PAKISTAN SUFFERED HEAVILY IN WAR AGAINST TERROR’:

Responding to Trump’s statements, Prime Minister Khan said that Islamabad had decided to “participate in the US War on Terror” although no Pakistani was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

“Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war and over $123 billion was lost,” he added, of which “US ‘aid’ was a miniscule $20bn”, the premier said.

In addition to economic losses, PM Khan highlighted the impact of the US war on Pakistan’s tribal areas.

“Our tribal areas were devastated and millions of people were uprooted from their homes. The war drastically impacted the lives of ordinary Pakistanis,” he said.

“Pakistan continues to provide free lines of ground and air communications (GLOCs/ALOCs),” he added.

“Can Mr Trump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?” he asked.

Khan said that instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 140,000 NATO troops, plus 250,000 Afghan troops and reportedly $1 trillion spent on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before.

The premier further tweeted that “Trump’s false assertions add insult to the injury,” reasoning that Pakistan suffered in the US-launched War on Terror in terms of lives and costs. “He needs to be informed about historical facts. Pak has suffered enough fighting US war. Now we will do what is best for our people & our interests,” he added.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also resented Trump’s remarks, saying that Pakistan lost 75,000 people and the economy suffered an estimated loss of $123 billion. “The United States is safer today because of our contributions and it’s a shame to hear statements that don’t take those facts into account,” Qureshi tweeted.

Earlier on Monday, Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari also called Trump out over his remarks about Pakistan, saying: “@realDonaldTrump suffers conveniently from perpetual historic amnesia!”

Calling Trump’s tirade a lesson for Pakistani leaders “who kept appeasing the US esp after 9/11”, the minister added: “Whether China or Iran, US policies of containment and isolation do not coincide with Pakistan’s strategic interests.”

Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani also termed Trump’s remarks “contrary to the facts” and reminded the US president that “Pakistan is not a client state of the US”.

“The US president’s language regarding a sovereign state was aggressive,” he said. “He should be careful; Pakistan is not a state or colony of the US.”

The veteran PPP leader reminded Trump of all that Pakistan did for the US over the years. “The US killed Pakistanis in unauthorised drone attacks, the US sponsored terrorism in Kabul, and a drug industry was created on the Pak-Afghan border for the financial assistance of the US,” he said.

“The Pakistani nation is paying the price of political and economic instability due to its alliance with the US.”

Former foreign minister Khawaja Asif also took note of Trump’s remarks, saying: “We continue to pay in blood for what we did for USA.”

Relations between the US and Pakistan, which began to strain in 2011, reached a new low in January when Trump suspended US security assistance to Islamabad over the alleged presence of Afghan militant groups in FATA. The government as well as the military had rejected the charge as incorrect.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had clarified at the time that that the Coalition Support Fund, received from the US, is reimbursement of money spent for operations in support of the coalition for regional peace.



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