Alternative arrangements made in advance, says Finance Ministry after US withholds $255mn aid

ISLAMABAD: The Finance Ministry confirmed the US’ decision to withhold $255 million in military aid.

“The US has informed Pakistan of its decision to stop $255 million in aid,” the Finance Ministry spokesperson confirmed, adding that the country was already prepared for the announcement.
“Pakistan had made alternate arrangements in advance,” the spokesperson said, adding that the US decision to stop aid would not affect Pakistani’s financial requirements.

A National Security Council (NSC) official released a statement confirming that the US does not plan to spend the $255 million in FY 2016 foreign military financing for Pakistan, according to a CNN report.

“The President has made clear that the United States expects Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorists and militants on its soil, and that Pakistan’s actions in support of the South Asia strategy will ultimately determine the trajectory of our relationship, including future security assistance,” the NSC official said.

The Trump administration first said in August that it was temporarily withholding the $255 million aid, which was part of a $1.1 billion aid package authorised in 2016 by Congress. The money was withheld until Pakistan ‘agreed to do more to combat terrorist networks’.
The NSC official said the administration would continue to review Pakistan’s level of cooperation in security areas.
US President Donald Trump on Monday threatened to cut aid to Pakistan after accusing the country of giving nothing in return except for “lies and deceit”.

 In a tweet on New Year’s Day, he had claimed that the US had foolishly given Pakistan over $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years.

Trump also accused Pakistan of thinking US leaders to be fools. “They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
Trump’s tweet drew a strong reaction from Pakistan. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif responded by saying that Pakistan has already refused to ‘do more’ for the United States.
“We have already told the US that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance,” Asif had told Geo News.
“Pakistan is ready to publicly provide every detail of the US aid that it has received,” Asif had said.