U.S. aid cut was money owed, not assistance

03 September, 2018, 18:59 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Pakistani demonstrators shout anti-US slogans at a protest in Quetta

The US aid cut-off has come on the heels of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's warm visit to Pakistan in which the latter emphasised its support for Iran and the nuclear deal that the US unilaterally pulled out of.

Pakistan´s support for these groups must end, Washington says. Announcing the initial suspension of funds in January, the president accused Islamabad of rewarding past USA aid with "nothing but lies & deceit".

Over the weekend, the Pentagon announced that they have cancelled $300 million in military aid to Pakistan.

He said the prime minister would soon announce a plan for the overseas Pakistanis, who would invest in Pakistan in various projects and they be offered facilities and concessions.

The Pentagon on Saturday announced that it will cancel $300 million aid to Pakistan over its failure to take actions against terror groups.

The US has been pushing Pakistan to crack down on alleged militant safe havens in the country - which Pakistan denies - and announced a freeze on aid at the beginning of the year that an official said could be worth nearly $2 billion.

To a question about options for Pakistan to get the stopped funds, Qureshi said Pakistan will talk to the United States because the money was already spent by Pakistan.

To a question on the government's much-talked about programme of giving away 10 million jobs and five million houses, he said the prime minister has chose to take briefing twice in a month on progress on the first 100-day programme of the government.

"It is not a new aid cut".

Why didn´t Washington axe aid earlier?

The minister said that while a section of India wanted to make Pakistan weak, the other section wished to peacefully co-exist with Islamabad, the daily said. Cutting the money off seems an obvious step. We will try to improve bilateral ties between the two countries.

Pakistan is also still believed to have the strongest influence over the Afghan Taliban, making its cooperation necessary for any peace talks.

Washington's footprint in Afghanistan is much smaller than it was at the height of the war, but it needs access to Pakistan's supply lines and airspace.

The Taliban reacted to the new strategy by threatening to make Afghanistan a "graveyard" for USA soldiers.

"This is something which of course has got Islamabad´s attention, but (is) not sufficient enough to rattle the current government", Pakistani political scientist Maria Sultan told AFP.

"And to make very clear what we have to do, all of our nations, in meeting our common foe, the terrorists", Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said on August 28.

Pakistan consistently denies providing safe havens for the militants.

Since coming to power he has called for a more balanced relationship with the US.

Last month, Pompeo warned that the International Monetary Fund bailout shouldn't be used to pay off debts owed to China.

Blaming the previous PML-N government for the existing state of bilateral ties with the US, Qureshi said, "The last government had no engagement, no dialogue [with the US administration] ... in fact there was an nearly total breakdown of talks".

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