Pakistan summons U.S. ambassador after Trump’s angry tweet

Pakistan has summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest against U.S. President Donald Trump’s angry tweet about Pakistani “lies and deceit”, which Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif dismissed as a political stunt.

David Hale was summoned by the Pakistan foreign office on Monday last week to explain Trump’s tweet, media said. The ministry could not be reached for comment but the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad confirmed on Tuesday that a meeting had taken place.

Trump said the United States had had been rewarded with “nothing but lies and deceit” for “foolishly” giving Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid in the last 15 years. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” he tweeted on Monday. His words drew praise from India, and Afghanistan, but long-time ally China defended Pakistan.

The White House said it would likely announce actions to pressure Pakistan within days, shortly after U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said at the United Nations that Washington would withhold $255 million in assistance to Pakistan. “There are clear reasons for this. Pakistan has played a double game for years,” Haley told reporters. “They work with us at times, and they also harbor the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan.”

A U.S. National Security Council official on Monday said the White House did not plan to send an already-delayed $255 million in aid to Pakistan “at this time” and that “the administration continues to review Pakistan’s level of cooperation”.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday chaired a National Security Committee meeting of civilian and military chiefs, focusing on Trump’s tweet. The meeting, which lasted nearly three hours, was brought forward by a day and followed an earlier meeting of army generals.

Relations with Washington have been strained for years over Islamabad’s alleged support for Haqqani network militants, who are allied with the Afghan Taliban. The United States also alleges that senior Afghan Taliban commanders live on Pakistani soil, and has signaled that it will cut aid and take other steps if Islamabad does not stop helping or turning a blind eye to Haqqani militants crossing the border to carry out attacks in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Asif dismissed Trump’s comments as a political stunt born out of frustration over U.S. failures in Afghanistan, where Afghan Taliban militants have been gaining territory and carrying out major attacks. “He has tweeted against us and Iran for his domestic consumption,” Asif told Geo TV on Monday. “He is again and again displacing his frustrations on Pakistan over failures in Afghanistan as they are trapped in dead-end street in Afghanistan.” Asif added that Pakistan did not need U.S. aid.

Meanwhile, the Indian Overseas Congress welcomed the withholding of U.S. funds from Pakistan as it has been accused of harboring terrorists. “IOC has long held the view that Pakistan is not interested in rooting out terrorism but rather using it as an instrument of policy as well as leverage to siphon off funds from the United States,”  said George Abraham, Vice-Chairman of the newly constituted Indian Overseas Congress, USA. “We agree with the White House sentiment that the time has come to call a spade a spade and demand Pakistan to cease of their nurturing of the terrorists in its backyard.

President Donald Trump has accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit” saying America was foolish to have given Islamabad more than 33 Billion in aid.  The tweet on Monday comes in the aftermath of rising tensions between Washington and Islamabad since summer when the U.S. announced his administration’s national strategy for Afghanistan.  India has long been a victim of this Pakistani duplicity, and the attack in Mumbai on 26/11 was carried out by terrorists who were trained in Pakistan.

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