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Entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed over recent US statements: COAS

13 January, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has told top US generals that the entire Pakistani nation ‘felt betrayed’ at criticism that it was not doing enough to fight terrorism, a statement released by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Friday.

“Entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed over recent US statements despite decades of cooperation. Accordingly, Pakistan’s unanimous national response reflected the same sentiments,” ISPR quoted the army chief as having told US Centcom Commander General Joseph Votel and a US senator who called Gen Bajwa over the week to discuss Pak-US security cooperation following President Donald Trump’s tweet.

Trump, in a New Year tweet, said that the United States had foolishly given Pakistan $33 billion in aid over 15 years and was rewarded with “nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools”.

The statement led to heightened tensions between Pakistan and the US. Later on January 5, the US announced suspension of transfer of military equipment and about $2 billion in security-related aid to Pakistan.

According to the ISPR, General Votel apprised the army chief about the US decision regarding the US security assistance and the coalition support fund.

The army chief told the US official that Pakistan will continue its sincere counter-terrorism efforts even without US financial support in accordance with its own national interests and will remain committed to bringing the effort to its logical conclusion along with other stakeholders.

“The general said that the US values Pakistan’s role in the war against terror and expected that the ongoing turbulence remains a temporary phase,” the ISPR said.

He also conveyed to the army chief that the US is not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan but is seeking cooperation to tackle Afghan nationals who, in his view, use Pakistan’s soil against Afghanistan, the ISPR said.

“This view, he felt, was undermining in Washington Pakistan’s contributions in the war against terrorism,” the ISPR statement added.

The army chief told the US officials that Pakistan was fully aware of their concerns on the activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and “we are already undertaking multiple actions through Operation Raddul Fasaad to deny any residual capacity to terrorists of all hue and colour for which return of Afghan Refugees is an essential prerequisite”. “Pakistan has suffered hugely due to great power contestation in the region,” the army chief stated.

The US officials were also apprised of Pakistan’s moves to strengthen border controls unilaterally “but if Afghanistan genuinely feels affected from Pakistan, bilateral border management must be Kabul’s top priority as well”.

The COAS reiterated that Pakistan will not seek resumption of aid but expects honourable recognition of its contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in the fight against terrorism for peace and stability in the region, according to the ISPR. “Pakistan will keep supporting all initiatives for peace in Afghanistan despite the tendency to scapegoat Pakistan, as peace in Afghanistan is the only way to move towards enduring peace and stability in the region,” the army chief was quoted as saying.

General Votel acknowledged the effectiveness of some of the recent actions taken by Pakistan to ensure that Pakistan’s hospitality to Afghan refugees was not misused in any way, the ISPR said, adding that the US general agreed that both countries stood to gain from the cooperative engagement.

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