WASHINGTON: The White House said it wanted to see Pakistan do more to fight terrorism and that it would likely announce actions to pressure Islamabad within days.
“Our goal is that we know that they can do more to stop terrorism and we want them to do that,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.
“In terms of specific actions, I think you’ll see some more details come out on that in the next 24 to 48 hours.”
The announcement comes amid a period of heightened tensions between the two nations, after the US president said that Washington had foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years.
In a tweet on Monday, US President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of giving nothing but lies and deceit, thinking US leaders to be fools.
“They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” he had said.
Haley accuses Pakistan of ‘playing double game for years’
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the US was withholding $255 million in aid to Islamabad, accusing Pakistan of failing to cooperate fully in the fight against terrorism.
“The administration is withholding $255 million in assistance to Pakistan. There are clear reasons for this. Pakistan has played a double game for years,” Haley told reporters at the United Nations on Tuesday.
“They work with us at times, and they also harbour the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan,” she said.
“That game is not acceptable to this administration. We expect far more cooperation from Pakistan in the fight against terrorism,” she added.
“The president is willing to go to great lengths to stop all funding from Pakistan as they continue to harbour terrorists.”
Last month, Pakistan joined more than 120 countries to defy the US president and vote in favour of a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution calling for America to drop its recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
But Haley said the Pakistan aid issue was not connected to the vote on Jerusalem, adding, “It is entirely connected to Pakistan’s harbouring of terrorists.”
“However, as I said earlier in December, we won’t forget the Jerusalem vote,” she added.
Trump tweet negates ‘decades of sacrifices by Pakistanis’
Trump’s tweet on Monday was followed by strong reaction from Islamabad, with Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif saying that the US President’s ‘no more’ holds no importance.
Pakistan also summoned the US ambassador in a rare public rebuke after Trump’s allegations.
Earlier in the day, a high-level huddle of the Pakistani civil-military leadership expressed disappointment over the US president’s anti-Pakistan statement, however, decided not to take measures in haste in reply to US allegations.
Trump’s comments “struck with great insensitivity” and “negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation”, read a press statement issued after the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting in Islamabad.
It said that Pakistan can not be blamed for failures in Afghanistan and accusing allies will not lead to the establishment of peace in the neighbouring country.