Pakistan PM calls meetings to discuss response to Trump's charge

Islamabad, Jan. 2 (Agencies): Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will chair meetings of the Cabinet and the National Security Committee to discuss Pakistan's response to US President Donald Trump's accusation that Islamabad deceived America by sheltering terrorists while drawing $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years.

Trump began the year by accusing Pakistan of giving nothing to the US but “lies and deceit” and providing “safe haven” to terrorists.

“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Trump wrote on Twitter. ”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 & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.”

Trump’s tweet, his strongest attack against Pakistan yet, also appeared to suggest he could cut off foreign aid to Pakistan.

It was not immediately clear what prompted Trump’s criticism of Pakistan but he has long complained that Islamabad is not doing enough to tackle Islamist militants.

The New York Times reported on December 29 that US officials had sought but been denied access to a member of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network captured in Pakistan who potentially could provide information about at least one American hostage.

In countering US criticism, Pakistan says it has launched military operations to push out militants from its soil and that 17,000 Pakistanis have died fighting militants or in bombings and other attacks since 2001.

The White House later said the US has suspended its $255 million military aid to Pakistan, saying the fate of such assistance will depend on Islamabad's decisive action against terrorists.

Radio Pakistan reported that Abbasi would preside over a meeting of the federal cabinet on Tuesday.

Official sources said that Trump's remarks would be the main point of discussion in the meeting.

The National Security Committee will meet on Wednesday. The Prime Minister will chair the NSC meeting.

Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir-Khan, services chiefs and senior civil and military officers will attend the meeting.

Sources said that the NSC meeting would help to firm up the final response to the latest accusation by the US.

In August, Trump had accused Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists.

Pakistan has been cautious in reacting to the latest remarks by Trump and so far only Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has spoken about it on the record.

”We will respond to President Trump's tweet shortly inshallah...Will let the world know the truth..difference between facts & fiction..,” Asif tweeted on Monday. 


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