In an apparent tilt of U.S.-Pakistan policy towards India, President Trump Monday (January 1, 2018) threatened to cut financial aid to Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of harboring violent extremists and lying about it.
"The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools," Trump said in his first tweet of 2018.
"They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!"
Commenting on Trump's tweet, Hindustan Times said: "His comment highlighted heightened global scrutiny into Islamabad's affairs and his administration's visible alignment with India's long-held stance that Pakistan is a terror hub."
The US president's tweet came in the aftermath of an increasingly terse back-and-forth between Washington and Islamabad since Trump announced his administration's latest national-security strategy in last August.
During the announcement, the US president had been quick to remind Pakistan of its 'obligation' to help America "because it receives massive payments" from Washington every year.
"We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help," the US president had said.
A Pentagon report to the US Congress, released to the media on Dec 17, had said Washington would also take 'unilateral steps' in areas of divergence with Pakistan while expanding cooperation between the two countries where their interests converge.
Subsequently, US Vice President Mike Pence had, in a surprise visit to Afghanistan's Bagram airbase on Dec 22, warned that Trump has "put Pakistan on notice" in what was the harshest US warning to Islamabad since the beginning of the Afghan war over 16 years ago.
US ambassador in Islamabad summoned over Trump's tweet
US ambassador David Hale was summoned on Monday by The Foreign Office (FO) over US President Donald Trump's tweet.
The News quoted informed sources as saying that Hale was summoned to lodge protest against Trump's unfounded allegations on Pakistan. Though Pakistan has rendered countless sacrifices to eradicate the menace of terrorism, yet the US president alleged in his tweet that Pakistan has given nothing except for "lies and deceit" in return for the aid the US provided Pakistan during 15 years, the paper added.
Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, in response to Trump's tweet, said that Pakistan has already refused to 'do more' for the United States.
PM calls cabinet, NSC meeting to discuss Trump's statement
The Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has summoned the emergency federal cabinet and the national Security Committee (NSC) meeting on Wednesday to evolve the the strategy in wake of Trump's latest statement.