Washington: The US released "far fewer funds" to Pakistan in 2018 and it may even come down next year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated on Thursday as he accused Islamabad of treating American diplomats "badly".
Accusing Pakistan of harbouring terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network within its border and showing unwillingness to take "decisive actions" against them, the US in January suspended more than $1.15 billion security assistance to the country.
The freezing of all security assistance to Pakistan had come days after President Donald Trump, in a new year tweet, accused Pakistan of giving nothing to the US but "lies and deceit" and providing "safe haven" to terrorists in return for $33 billion aid over the last 15 years.
Pompeo, while responding to questions from Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who said the US should stop providing any financial assistance to Pakistan until it releases Shakil Afridi, a doctor who helped the CIA hunt down Osama bin Laden in 2011, said that the US released less funds this year.
"With respect to Pakistan, we released far fewer funds in 2018 than in the year prior. The remainder of the funds available are under review. My guess is that that number will be smaller still," he told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Rohrabacher said he sees no "reason" in giving any financial aid to Pakistan if it still keeps Afridi in jail.
Pompeo said he worked "diligently" on the issue of Afridi in his previous role as the CIA director, but acknowledged that he has been "unsuccessful" so far. "Please be aware that it's at my heart and I know it's important and we can do that. We can achieve that outcome," he said. Rohrabacher intervened by saying that the situation is getting "worse" in Pakistan.
"These people in Karachi and Sindh and the others, they're now facing these people who are killing their leaders or killing their people who believe in certain things that are different than the radical Islamic philosophy of some of the people in the Pakistani government," he alleged.
Besides financial assistance issue, Pompeo said, the US also needs to take note of the treatment meted out to American diplomats by Pakistan.
"Our state department officials are being treated badly as well. Folks working in the embassies and in the consulates and other places are not being treated well by the Pakistani government either, a real problem that we need to take the measure of also," Pompeo said. Congressman Brad Sharman hoped that the US state department would reach out to the leaders of Pakistan about the "forced disappearances in Sindh".
Updated Date: May 24, 2018 15:20 PM