Pakistan Cabinet discusses fallout of US withdrawing foreign aid, says move will be 'detrimental' to bilateral ties

Islamabad: Pakistan warned the US that the statements from Washington are "detrimental" to bilateral relations that have developed over generations.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday and discussed strategies following US President Donald Trump's tweet in which he accused Pakistan of giving nothing to the US but "lies and deceit" in return for $33 billion aid.

File image of Donald Trump. AP

Donald Trump had accused Pakistan of giving only 'lies and deceit' in return for $33 billion of US aid. AP

"The Cabinet viewed that American statements are detrimental to the bilateral relationship between Pakistan and US, a relationship that has developed over generations," reads the statement issued after the meeting.

Pakistan has rendered huge sacrifices, both in terms of loss of precious human lives and substantial damage to the economy as a result of partnering in the global war against terrorism, it said.

The Cabinet unanimously endorsed the stance of National Security Committee (NSC), which in its yesterday's meeting expressed deep disappointment over recent statements of the top American leadership.

Foreign Minister Khawaj Asif briefed the participants about the background of the recent statements of the American leadership and the discussion held during the NSC meeting.

Pakistan has so far cautiously responded to Trump's tweet in which he had said that the US has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given "us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools".

Prime Minister's adviser on finance, Mitah Ismael, told Geo News that out of $33 billion, $14 billion were against the services as coalition partner in the war on terror. "Our actual bill for Coalition Support Fund was about $24 billion, but they have reimbursed only $14 billion," he said.

Ismael said another about $5 billion was given by the US to various NGOs which had nothing to do with the government of Pakistan. He also said that about half of this was support for the military, mostly in kind, for fighting the war on terror.

When asked about the impact of the US withholding $225 million in aid, Ismael said smilingly, "I spent more than this daily to run the government of Pakistan."

In the same programme, military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said that Pakistan and the US were still friends and partners. "We have history of ups and down in relations but we (are) still partners," he said.

Ghafoor also hit back at US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, pointing to her Indian connection, when asked about Haley accusing Pakistan for double standards. "The US should find out the elements which are aiming at deteriorating the US-Pakistan cooperation," he said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet also extended by 30 days the 31 December deadline set for the repatriation of about three million Afghan refugees living legally and illegally in Pakistan.

"After a detailed discussion, the Cabinet agreed to grant only 30 days' extension for Proof of Registration (POR) and also decided that the issue of early repatriation of Afghan refugees shall be raised with the United Nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) and with the international community," the statement added.

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Updated Date: Jan 04, 2018 11:58 AM

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