Measured response

January 6, 2018

The response from Pakistan to the accusations leveled by United States President Donald Trump has been measured but appropriate. It was also heartening to see that the response came from the right forum, the National Security Committee. In its response the National Security Committee expressed disappointment at the allegations leveled against Pakistan by US President Donald Trump, saying the accusations strike at the trust between the two countries and negates the sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani nation. The NSC response was also fully endorsed by the Federal Cabinet, Parliamentary Committee on National Security and politicians from various political parties. The unity in the face of these accusations and threats is a positive sign indeed.

The NSC observed that the close interaction with the US leadership following the initial pronouncement of President Trump’s policy on South Asia had been useful in creating a better understanding of each other’s perspectives on the best way forward to achieve durable peace and stability in Afghanistan. The Committee observed that given this positive direction of progression, recent statements and articulation by the American leadership were completely incomprehensible.

Pakistan’s counter terrorism campaign has served as a bulwark against possible expansion of scores of terrorist organizations currently present in Afghanistan- a fact acknowledged by US authorities at the highest levels. Most of these terrorists have repeatedly launched cross border attacks against innocent Pakistanis with impunity by exploiting presence of millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, a porous Pak-Afghan border and large tracts of ungoverned spaces inside Afghanistan.

Pakistan has fought the war against terrorism primarily out of its own resources and at a great cost to its economy, and that even more importantly the huge sacrifices made by Pakistan, including the loss of tens of thousands of lives of Pakistani civilians and security personnel, and the pain of their families, could not be trivialized so heartlessly by pushing all of it behind a monetary value – and that too an imagined one.

The response from the NSC rightly pointed out the contradictions in the accusations leveled by the US President. Not only the $33 billion aid figure was exaggerated but the allegations of double game are also far from the truth. If anyone has suffered the most due to the war on terror, it’s is Pakistan. The country has rendered immense sacrifices in the war and its Armed Forces have carried out what is one the most successful anti terror operations anywhere in the world.

In a follow up step, the Trump administration has suspended its entire security assistance to Pakistan citing reasons that are far from reality. However, the US administration is probably criminally unaware that Pakistan has primarily fought the war on terror from its own resources, which has cost over $120 billion to the country.

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