Pakistan summoned the top U.S. diplomat in Islamabad on Tuesday to protest President Donald Trump’s allegation that the country had harbored al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden despite getting billions of dollars in American aid.
According to a statement, Foreign Secretary Tahmina Janjua told the U.S. diplomat, Paul Jones that “such baseless rhetoric … was totally unacceptable.” The statement also claimed that the cooperation from Pakistan’s intelligence service had provided initial evidence that helped Washington trace bin Laden.
“We give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year… (bin Laden) lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3 billion a year — which we don’t give them anymore, by the way, I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us,” the President told.
“The Foreign Secretary (Tehmina Janjua) called in the United States charge d’affaires Paul Jones to register a strong protest on the unwarranted and unsubstantiated allegations made against Pakistan,” Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Faisal said.
“Conveying her Government’s disappointment on the recent tweets and comments by the US President, the US charge d’affaires was told that such baseless rhetoric about Pakistan was totally unacceptable,” he said in a statement.
Faisal said Janjua rejected the insinuations about bin Laden and reminded Jones that it was Pakistan’s intelligence cooperation that provided the initial evidence to trace the whereabouts of the slain al-Qaeda leader.
Janjua told Jones that no other country had paid a heavier price than Pakistan in the fight against terrorism, he said.
“Pakistan’s continued support to the efforts of international community in Afghanistan through Ground/ Air and Sea lines of communication was unquestionably critical to the success of this Mission in Afghanistan,” Janjua said.
She also said that in the wake of recent US pronouncements to seek political settlement in Afghanistan, Pakistan and America were working in close coordination with other regional stake holders in order to end the prolonged conflict.
“At this critical juncture, baseless allegations about a closed chapter of history could seriously undermine this vital cooperation,” she said.
He said that Pakistan decided to “participate in the US War on Terror” although no Pakistani was involved in the 9/11 attacks.
“Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war and over $123 billion was lost”, of which “US ‘aid’ was a miniscule $20 billion”, Khan said.
“Instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 140,000 Nato troops, plus 250,000 Afghan troops and reportedly $1 trillion spent on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before,” he suggested.