The Trump card against Pakistan

US has suspended billions of dollars security-related aid for Pakistan until it takes decisive action against terrorists operating from its soil and particularly the Haqqani network, the Afghan Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad and others. It reflects the growing mistrust between the former allies in the war on terror.

President Donald Trump is the first US president to openly attack Pakistan and identified her as deceit and lie about terrorism. Even the invisible American octopus of Pakistan lobbyists were taken by surprise. They could not thwart Trump’s strong arm efforts to turn off aid to Pakistan.

The United States of America from 2002 onwards has delivered billions in aid to Pakistan. A deepening sense of distrust has marred the relationship. US President Trump’s recent tweet has accused the country of taking billions of dollars in US aid while continuing to harbor militants. “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 and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

Pakistan reacted both angrily and cautiously – saying US has struck with great insensitivity at the trust between [the] two nations built over generations, and negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation. Trump is disappointed at the US defeat in Afghanistan and that is the only reason he is flinging accusations at Pakistan.

While as the religious groups and militants in Pakistan have condemned Trump’s tweet with “Down-Down Trump slogans and Foolish Oldman doesn’t know how to deal with the World.” Sections of retired generals have responded by saying-Seventy thousand lives for the last 16 years,” referring to the number of Pakistani civilians and soldiers killed in militant attacks — widely seen in Pakistan as blowback for the country’s allying with the U.S. in the war on terrorism.

Others say – The implications of China-Pakistan close relations and Beijing’s plan to remake geography by launching huge infrastructure roads and bridges on the borders has been bothering US administration for some time. US has been concerned about the regional security issues in South Asia. US experts feel that India-Pakistan tensions will complicate and spoil US’s interest in the South Asia. The US looks at Pakistan as a transactional nation,” Used when needed, and trashed when not needed.”

Ever since Trump was elected the President of United States Pakistan despite having started to reboot its diplomatic ties with US to end the stalemate of last many years did not succeed. Pakistan relations have been on the downside because she lied to the whole world about the presence of Al-Qaeda chief the most wanted Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. The Americans nailed these lies by an “operation finish Bin Laden” and he was found in Abbottabad near elite military School in Pakistan and was liquidated. US administration had put Pakistan is on notice and asked to come clean stopping breeding terrorists in its back yard and root them out.

Pakistan’s military appeared to signal a certain defiance to the United States. Last Hafiz Saeed’s, a designated terrorist by the US, release, his brazen hate speeches and participation in a rally in Rawalpindi, near the Pakistan’s military headquarter. Pakistan’s refusal to hand over a militant affiliated with the Haqqani network that is linked with the Taliban. US officials believed the militant could provide information about an American kidnapped along with an Australian in Kabul in 2016.

In response, the Trump administration has been considering withholding a payment of $255 million to Pakistan’s military. Withholding aid is one of several actions the U.S. has been considering. In August, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson openly mulled over stripping Pakistan’s designation as a major non-NATO ally. Analysts say the US could also increase drone strikes targeting militants on Pakistani territory.

President Trump spelled out his conviction, commitment and policy from day one of his assuming Presidency against terrorism by saying “it is the time to expose and hold responsible those Countries who breed,support and finance terror groups.” Trump administration also charted out South Asia policy in which it has sort a larger role for India in Afghanistan and in South Asia and has squarely put Pakistan on notice.

US President Donald Trump in his maiden speech at UNGA, voiced his commitment and his strong arm policy against terrorism. Pakistan had to take it seriously if she wanted to get financial aid from the US. Pakistan is diplomatically exposed world over for harbouring and promoting terrorism particularly in Afghanistan and India. President Trump’s latest statement has strongly reinforced that perception. Earlier the US Vice President Mike Pence has issued stern warning to Pakistan that – “Pakistan has lot to gain by partnering with the US,and She has much to loose by continuing to harbour criminals and terrorists.”

Pakistan desperately needs the US. It needs Washington to support its appeals to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for loans as it seeks to stabilize its economy. The navy and air force largely rely on U.S.-manufactured equipments. Trump’s tweet and his administration’s increasingly tough line toward Pakistan have been welcomed by many Afghans, who have long pressed the US for a harder line on Pakistan in the security interests of South Asia. There is no doubt that it is a major set back to Pakistan’s diplomatic and economic interests.

“President Trump has finally said what everybody needed to hear in Pakistan and other nations those harbour hate and terrorism.”

(Ashok Bhan is Senior Advocate Supreme Court Of India, International Law Expert and Chairman Kashmir Policy & Strategy Group)

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