I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts
WASHINGTON Oct 14 (TNS): US President Donald Trump says he wants to express his gratitude to Pakistan and its leadership for their “cooperation” — something that came as a stark contrast to the scathing comments he had made earlier this year during the unveiling of the American strategy in South Asia.
The American commander-in-chief reasoned that the US is “starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders. I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts”.
Back in August, Trump disclosed his long-awaited strategy for South Asia — especially Afghanistan — as he put his own touch to America’s longest war in his first formal presidential address to the nation.
Trump had lambasted Pakistan and its leadership for providing safe havens and sanctuaries for terrorist elements, and urged the nation to “do more” to prevent it.
“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time [when] they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” he said, warning that the vital aid the US offers to the country could be cut.
“That will have to change and that will change immediately.”
In response, the Pakistan Army had brushed off speculation that Trump’s new strategy could include taking a stronger line against Islamabad, insisting the country has done all it can to tackle militancy.
“Let it come,” army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor told reporters, referring to Trump’s decision. “Even if it comes… Pakistan shall do whatever is best in the national interest.”
Elsewhere in Pakistan, Trump’s statement also caused an uproar as well. Numerous politicians and analysts had voiced their frustration — including PIT chief Imran Khan, senators Sherry Rehman, Mushahid Hussain, Rehman Malik, and ANP leader Shahi Syed.
However, China and Russia soon came to Pakistan’s defence.
Zamir Kabulov — the Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan — slammed the strategy and insisted that Islamabad is “a key regional player to negotiate with”.
“Putting pressure [on Pakistan] may seriously destabilise the region-wide security situation and result in negative consequences for Afghanistan,” the presidential envoy told a news publication.
Prior to that, China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi — in a phone call to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — urged the US to value Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan.
“We must value Pakistan’s important role on the Afghanistan issue, and respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and reasonable security concerns,” the diplomat said.
Starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders. I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts.