Pakistan Army powerful without United States aid as well: ISPR DG

Posted January 08, 2018

He said Pakistan could fall back on Saudi Arabia and China for military supplies, but it still depends on the US for certain types of high-end equipment. Your call President Trump.

What is going to happen next potentially is going to hurt America more than it hurts Pakistan.

At least one influential Pakistani politician seems to be taking the Trump administration seriously.

The US move reportedly capped considerable debate within the administration after the Pentagon warned the State Department that Rawalpindi could retaliate by denying access to routes in Pakistan that the US uses to supply about 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan. It accused the US of scapegoating Pakistan for its own failure to bring peace to Afghanistan.

It was pointed out that there had been "numerous conversations" with Pakistan over the last few months.

In an interview on Thursday with the Geo News channel, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said that the USA was now neither a friend nor ally, but "a friend who always betrays". He slammed Pakistan for only providing lies and deceit in reaction.

Earlier this week, U.S. president Donald Trump called a halt to aid to Pakistan in one of his infamous Twitter posts.

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert on Thursday said the embargo would remain in place until Pakistan takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

U.S. officials had indicated on Thursday that the aid suspension would impact the State Department's foreign military financing (FMF) and the Department of Defense's Coalition Support Funds (CSF). Therefore, Pakistan's funds under FMF for FY 2016 were lapsing in September 2017.

The money that has been suspended at this time does not mean that it will be withheld forever, she said.

Nauert made clear the $255 million was still blocked.

The CSF funds for 2017, as authorised by Congress, stand at $900 million. The US, he noted, wants "action against the Haqqani network". This was not likely to have been given as the United States had not issued that certification for CSF funds for 2015 and 2016 either.

USA assistance to Pakistan, which rose sharply after the 9/11 attacks, has been declining since 2011 when American commandos killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan, straining relations. Citing the presidential tweet, Paul said, "I've been fighting to end Pakistani aid for years". Opposition politician Imran Khan went one step further, calling on Pakistan to "immediately remove" US diplomatic and intelligence personnel.

The Pakistan foreign office claimed that Washington's "shifting goalposts" was "counterproductive", but also noted that Islamabad remained "engaged with the U.S. administration on the issue of security cooperation and awaits further details".

The Ministry defended Islamabad's stance on terrorism, saying that "it has fought the war against terrorism largely from its own resources which has cost over $120 billion in 15 years". He said the time had come to put Pakistan's "house in order" and "reflect on why the world holds negative opinions about us".

United States officials claim that despite Pakistan's public bluster, Islamabad could take a more conciliatory position. "Is he freezing the funds for legitimate reasons, or is he doing it because he didn't like how Pakistan officials replied to his initial tweet about them?"