— FO says no country has paid higher price than Pakistan in fighting war on terror
ISLAMABAD: US Chargé d’Affaires Paul Jones was summoned to the Foreign Office (FO) on Tuesday where a protest was lodged with him on the “unwarranted and unsubstantiated allegations” made against Pakistan by the US President Donald Trump.
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.
In a letter, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua conveyed Pakistan’s disappointment over recent comments by the US president, stating that “such baseless rhetoric about Pakistan is totally unacceptable”.
Referring to Trump’s accusation that Pakistan had actively sheltered the al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, the foreign secretary reminded the US diplomat that it was Pakistan’s intelligence agencies that had provided the initial evidence to trace the whereabouts of Bin Laden.
“No other country has paid a heavier price than Pakistan in the fight against terrorism,” the letter added.
“The US leadership had acknowledged on multiple occasions that Pakistan’s cooperation had helped in decimating the core Al-Qaeda leadership and eradicating the threat of terrorism from the region.”
“The US must not forget that scores of top al Qaeda leaders were killed or captured by active Pakistani cooperation. Pakistan’s continued support to the efforts of the international community in Afghanistan through ground, air and sea lines of communication was unquestionably critical to the success of this mission in Afghanistan.”
The foreign secretary added that in the wake of recent US pronouncements to seek a political settlement in Afghanistan, Pakistan and US were working in close coordination with other regional stakeholders in order to end the prolonged conflict.
“At this critical juncture, baseless allegations about a closed chapter of history could seriously undermine this vital cooperation,” the protest statement added.
Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan responded to Trump’s statements, saying that Pakistan 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 minuscule $20bn”, the premier had said.
Khan had added 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.