Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said Tuesday that Pakistan has suspended military and intelligence cooperation with the United States (US) after US President Donald Trump suspended military aid to Pakistan after accusing it of giving US “nothing but lies and deceit”.
Dastgir said this while addressing participants of a conference, titled ‘Contours of Security Environment of Pakistan’, at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad. On the occasion, he alleged that the US was using Pakistan as a ‘scapegoat’ for its failure in the war on terror in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan wants recognition for its sacrifices rather than payment,” he said, adding that Pakistan would make all out efforts to avoid any situation where the Afghan war would spill over in to Pakistan’s territory.
On the other hand, the US Embassy in Islamabad said that it had not received any formal information regarding the suspension of military cooperation by Pakistan. “We have not been informed about the suspension of military cooperation yet,” US embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said.
Replying to a query, the defence minister said that Pakistan’s decision to block Nato supply lines to Afghanistan after the 2011 attack at Salala checkpost was correct. He said that Pakistan would try to use Trump’s latest anti-Pakistan statements as a leverage during future meetings.
On Monday, a Pentagon statement said that the US had clearly told Pakistan what to do if it wanted Washington t continue sending military aid to the country, adding that the expectations of the US were straightforward. “Taliban and Haqqani network leaders and operatives should no longer be provided sanctuaries in Pakistan or allowed to launch attacks from there,” the statement said.
On the first day of the current year, Trump shared a tweet in which he accused Pakistan of playing a double game with the US and told it to “do more” in the fight against terrorism.
On Friday, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said that US and Pakistani military establishments were maintaining contact regardless of the present circumstances. This claim was also reaffirmed by Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua who said that Pakistan would continue its engagement with Washington to the greatest extent, because America, apart from being a global power, also had a strong regional presence. “For us it’s almost like a neighbour,” she said.