ISLAMABAD: Director-General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said Wednesday if the US takes any action against Pakistan’s national security, a response will be given as per the public’s expectations.
He added that Pakistan has taken action against the Haqqani network and the effects will be visible in due course of time.
The “effects of these operations cannot be visible immediately,” he said. “Only time will show how effective these operations were [in establishing peace within the region].”
The military spokesperson added that the Pakistan Army carried out operations against the Haqqanis and in North Waziristan after the capacity of security forces was increased.
In response to a question regarding US drone attacks in Pakistan’s settled areas, Ghafoor said the country will respond to such acts according to the aspiration of its people.
Commenting on the recent developments pertaining to the Pak-US relations, Gen Ghafoor said no amount of compulsion can pressurise Pakistan on how to continue.
The spokesperson was responding to the United States withholding aid worth $255 million to Pakistan following US President Donald Trump’s tweet, wherein the latter said the US had foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in financial assistance over the past 15 years.
“They have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking our leaders as fools,” Trump had stated.
“No amount of coercion can dictate us how to continue,” he said speaking on Geo News’ programme Capital Talk.
“We wish to move forward through cooperative engagement but will not compromise on self-respect and dignity,” he added.
‘Reimbursement not aid’
The Army spokesperson emphasised that the US had only reimbursed the expenditure which Pakistan had incurred while supporting coalition forces in Afghanistan.
“The Coalition Support Fund, as evident from its name, was received as a reimbursement for operations that were carried out to support the US,” he said.
He added that the two countries have a bilateral cooperation which includes bilateral finances and a coalition fund for the war in Afghanistan.
“We received an amount of between $15-20 billion in coalition funds for our military expenditure, while the national exchequer incurred $123 billion in losses,” said Ghafoor.
Ghafoor stressed that the sole objective of Pakistan’s war is to establish regional peace.
‘Better relations with India not possible till issues resolved’
Discussing India’s new role in the region as part of the US’ new foreign policy for South Asia, the ISPR spokesman said a single country cannot be assigned the role of guaranteeing peace in the region.
“There are countries in the region that want to increase the differences between Pakistan and the US,” he said, in an apparent reference to India.
“We are a nuclear power; we do not need security guarantees from anyone.”
Ghafoor further stressed that peace with India is not possible till pending issues with the country’s eastern neighbour are resolved.
“India has used Afghan soil to support terrorism in Pakistan and Kulbhushan Jadhav is one such example,” he said, accusing India of hindering Pakistan from establishing peace.
“India does not want Pakistan to proceed on the path of peace; it keeps engaging us towards itself,” said DG ISPR. “India would never like Pakistan to succeed in its efforts towards terrorism.”
‘Good indication nation united over single narrative’
Answering a question with regard to the deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement, earlier today, about Trump’s anti-Pakistan message, the Army spokesman said it is a very good indication that the country is united under one narrative.
Ghafoor also welcomed Nawaz’s statement regarding the US. He added that the need of the hour for the country is to remain united in order to tackle the challenges which Pakistan faces.
In his Monday tweet, Trump had accused Pakistan of “thinking of our leaders as fools”.
“They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
The Pak-US ties took another turn after the finance ministry confirmed Tuesday the US’ decision to withhold $255 million in military aid.
“The US has informed Pakistan of its decision to stop $255 million in aid,” the Finance Ministry spokesperson confirmed, adding that the country was already prepared for the announcement.
“Pakistan had made alternate arrangements in advance,” the spokesperson said, adding that the US decision to stop aid would not affect Pakistani’s financial requirements.
A National Security Council (NSC) official had earlier released a statement confirming that the US does not plan to spend the $255 million in FY 2016 foreign military financing for Pakistan, according to a CNN report.
‘US should stop blaming others for its mistakes’
Maleeha Lodhi — Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) — set the record straight after her American counterpart Nikki Haley made incendiary remarks Tuesday night against Pakistan.
Islamabad’s cooperation with Washington was not based on any aid consideration, but “on our national interests and principles”, said Lodhi, adding that the US “can review our cooperation if it is not appreciated”.
Lodhi said this in response to Haley’s comments during a news conference, wherein the US envoy repeated Trump’s allegations that Pakistan had played a double game in its counterterrorism operations.
“We have contributed and sacrificed the most in fighting international terrorism and carried out the largest counter-terrorism operation anywhere in the world,” Lodhi had asserted.