- ISPR says suspension of assistance will not deter Pakistan’s anti-terror effort for bringing peace in the region
- Army has taken indiscriminate action against terror outfits, including Haqqanis
- FO says Pakistan spent over $120bn in anti-terror war from own resources
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan army, while expressing resolve not to deter from action against terrorist networks, Friday said the country never fought for money but for peace, as the Foreign Office asserted the country had fought the anti-terror war largely from its own resources, costing it over $120 billion in 15 years.
The statements of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief Major General Asif Ghafoor and FO Spokesperson Muhammad Faisal came following the suspension of at least $900 million in security assistance to Pakistan by the US on Thursday.
The Trump administration had announced that it was suspending hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance to Pakistan until the latter takes “decisive action” against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.
In an interview with Voice of America, the ISPR director general said that the suspension of US funds will not deter Pakistan’s resolve to fight the terror in the region; however, such a move will have negative consequences for the bilateral security cooperation and regional peace efforts.
Allaying the reservations of the US over action against Haqqani Network, the army spokesperson said that the military-led counterterrorism operations have targeted terrorists “indiscriminately,” including Haqqanis, at a “heavy cost of blood and treasure.” There are no more organised terrorist sanctuaries inside Pakistan, Ghafoor maintained.
The strain in Pakistan-US relations will damage the efforts towards peace in the region, the spokesperson said.
“Casting doubts on our will is not good to our common objective of moving toward enduring peace and stability. Pakistan shall continue its sincere efforts in best interests of Pakistan and peace,” he added.
WAR ON TERROR WAS MOSTLY PAKISTAN-FUNDED:
Earlier in the day, FO Spokesperson Muhammad Faisal said that the US should appreciate the fact that Pakistan had fought the war against terrorism largely from its own resources.
In a statement, the FO spokesperson said that Pakistani officials were engaged with the US administration on the issue of security cooperation and were awaiting further details.
Dr Faisal said that the impact of the US’s decision in pursuit of common objectives would emerge more clearly in due course.
“However, it needs to be appreciated that Pakistan has fought the war against terrorism largely from its own resources which have cost the country over $120 billion in 15 years,” he stated.
“We are determined to continue to do all that it takes to secure the lives of our citizens and achieve broader stability in the region.”
The statement further maintained that the Pakistan-US cooperation in fighting terrorism directly served the US national security interests as well as the larger interests of the international community.
“Through a series of major counterterrorism operations, Pakistan cleared all these areas, resulting in the elimination of organised terrorist presence, leading to a significant improvement in security in Pakistan.”
The statement also said that Pakistan is awaiting reciprocal actions from the Afghan side “in terms of clearance of vast stretches of ungoverned spaces on the Afghan side, bilateral border management, repatriation of Afghan refugees, controlling the poppy cultivation, drug trafficking, and initiating Afghan-led and owned political reconciliation in Afghanistan.”
PAKISTAN TAKING US FOR A ‘FOOL’:
The war of words between the two countries was triggered by US President Donald Trump’s tweet on Monday in which he threatened to slash funding for Pakistan, accusing it of providing a haven to terrorists and playing US leaders for “fools.”
In his Twitter comments, Trump said Washington has received “nothing but lies and deceits” in return for giving Pakistan more than $33 billion in the last 15 years.
Pakistan denounced the comments as “completely incomprehensible” and reiterated its pledge to work with Washington to fight terrorism and stabilise neighbouring Afghanistan. Pakistani leaders reiterated that the United States was scapegoating it for the failures in Afghanistan.