Pakistan dismisses Donald Trump’s South Asia policy, calls on suspension of cooperation with US

Pakistan's National Assembly has passed a resolution dismissing US President Donald Trump’s South Asia policy and condemned his accusations that Islamabad was prolonging the war in Afghanistan, media reports said on Wednesday.

"The House denounces the complete disregard of Pakistan's sacrifices by the US," Geo News quoted Pakistan's foreign minister Khawaja Asif as saying. The resolution was adopted unanimously after the Speaker presented it on the floor.

 Pakistan dismisses Donald Trump’s South Asia policy, calls on suspension of cooperation with US

File image of Khawaja Asif. Reuters

Speaking before the Assembly, Asif urged the government to consider postponing any visits by US delegations to Pakistan or by Pakistani officials to the United States and closing off “ground and air lines of communication through Pakistan”.

On Sunday, Pakistan’s foreign office announced that it had postponed a visit by US acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells to discuss Washington’s new Afghan policy, but at the time did not provide a reason.

Trump accused Pakistan of harbouring “agents of chaos” and providing safe havens to militant groups waging an insurgency against the US-backed government in Kabul.

Pakistani officials bristle at what they say is a lack of respect from Washington for the country’s sacrifices in the war against militancy and its successes against groups like Al Qaeda, Islamic State or the Pakistani Taliban.

Pakistan estimates there have been 70,000 Pakistani casualties in militant attacks since it joined the US war on terror after the 11 September, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Successive US administrations have struggled with how to deal with nuclear-armed Pakistan. Washington fumes about inaction against the Taliban, but Pakistan has been helpful on other counterterrorism efforts, including against Al Qaeda and Islamic State.

The United States also has no choice but to use Pakistani roads to resupply its troops in landlocked Afghanistan. US officials worry that if Pakistan becomes an active foe, it could further destabilise Afghanistan and endanger US soldiers.

“Afghanistan, the US and its allies should close their borders to leaders of terrorist, militant groups carrying out acts of terrorism against Pakistan,” Asif told the Assembly. He added that Pakistan was concerned about Islamic State flourishing in Afghan provinces bordering Pakistan.

Pakistani officials and media have also raged about Trump’s calls for India’s increased involvement in Afghanistan.

Asif termed an increased role for New Delhi in Kabul “highly detrimental to regional stability” and accused India of supporting terrorism and “destabilizing politics in the region”.

In response to warnings that Washington might cut aid to Pakistan, Asif rejected the importance of American dollars, saying that Pakistan has lost more than $123 billion to terrorism since the 11 September attacks.

Any effort to isolate Pakistan would face problems from China, which has deepened political and military ties with Islamabad and invested nearly $60 billion in infrastructure in Pakistan.

The relationship between Islamabad and Washington has endured periods of extreme strain during the past decade, especially after Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was found and killed by US special forces in Pakistan in a 2011 raid.

With inputs from Reuters

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Updated Date: Aug 30, 2017 20:22:22 IST