Country says U.S. military aid suspension 'counterproductive'

US President Donald Trump at the White House lawn in Washington on Friday

US President Donald Trump at the White House lawn in Washington on Friday

The State Department's declaration Thursday signaled growing frustration over Pakistan's level of cooperation in fighting terrorist networks.

The data-indicative of worsening US-Pakistan ties-come as US President Donald Trump slammed Pakistan's "lies and deceit" for providing "safe havens" to terrorists in exchange of $33 billion worth of US aid to Islamabad.

When President Donald Trump tweeted that all the US had gotten for $33 billion in aid to Pakistan was "lies and deceit", he ventured into sensitive territory for a country that says it is doing all it can to fight terrorism and is being unfairly criticized for its efforts.

It added that funds were being disbursed "without always following the DoD policies and procedures to validate whether actual logistical and military support was provided and without adequate documentation to support its analysis of the reasonableness of Pakistan reimbursement claims" and that "officials stated that they were not allowed to observe or validate military operations within Pakistan". In other words, a clear cut narrative has been framed to validate punitive action against Pakistan. Speaking of US-Pakistan relations, Nauert added: "No partnership can survive a country's harboring of militants and terrorists who target USA service members and officials".

The rare reaction follows recent statements from top USA officials, including President Donald Trump, accusing Islamabad of "playing a double-game" and providing safe havens to militants fighting in war-torn Afghanistan. "They have to help", Trump said last month unveiling his National Strategic Strategy last month. Nauert said that despite sustained high-level engagement with Pakistan's government, "the Taliban and Haqqani network continue to find sanctuary inside Pakistan as they plot to destabilize Afghanistan and attack US and allied personnel". Civilian assistance is not affected.

Also Thursday, the State Department accused Pakistan of severe violations of religious freedom. The step does not carry any serious consequences.

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Pakistan has fought fierce campaigns against homegrown Islamist groups, and says it has lost thousands of lives and spent billions of dollars in its long war on extremism. It accused the USA of scapegoating Pakistan for its own failure to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Nuzhat Sadiq, chairwoman of the Senate Foreign Affairs committee in the upper house of parliament, says Islamabad can manage without the United States as it did in the 1990s, but would prefer to move the troubled relationship forward.

"A balanced response is needed that would preserve the country's dignity while engaging with the U.S.", Sadiq said.

Pakistan People's Party (PPP) senior leader Senator Sherry Rehman has deplored the United States' attitude towards Pakistan, and said that Washington should learn the manners of addressing any Independent State. "A lot of that is under DoD (Department of Defence), so I just won't have the details about that".

"However, Congress and the public are concerned that Pakistan is not producing a measurable result to correlate with USA investment", the report said.

Pakistan's influential military has not come up with a verified breakdown to convince the US that it is spending the money wisely along the guidelines for how it can be used, which is essentially supposed to go only toward expenses that go above what the army would spend on normal operations. The U.S. originally increased funding to Pakistan in 2002 as part of its war on terror, and the Obama administration made Pakistan a priority as it planned to capture the terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

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