US President Donald Trump said early Saturday morning that he would like to thank Pakistan and his leadership for their “cooperation”. This was a stark contrast to the sharp comments he made this year in unveiling the American strategy in South Asia.
The American commander-in-chief argued that the US “is developing a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders.”
Already in August, Trump unveiled his long-awaited strategy for South Asia – especially for Afghanistan – when, in his first formal presidential speech to the nation, he brought America’s longest war in its own direction.
Trump had condemned Pakistan and its leadership to provide safe havens and sanctuaries for terrorist elements and prompted the nation to “do more” to prevent this.
Pakistan must show “commitment to civilization, order, peace”: Trump
“We have paid Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time as they contain the terrorists we fight,” he said, warning that the US’s crucial aid to the country could be shortened.
“This will have to change and that will change immediately.”
In response, the Pakistani army had speculated that Trumps’ new strategy could be to take a stronger line against Islamabad, emphasizing that the country had done everything to combat militancy.
“Let it come,” said the spokesman of the army, Generalmajor Asif Ghafoor, reporters who referred to Trumps decision. “Even if it comes to this … Pakistan will do everything that is best in the national interest.”
Elsewhere in Pakistan, Trumps statement also caused a riot. Many politicians and analysts had expressed their frustration, including PIT chief Imran Khan, Senator Sherry Rehman, Mushahid Hussain, Rehman Malik, and ANP leader Shahi Syed.
However, China and Russia soon came to defend Pakistan.
Zamir Kabulov – the Russian Presidential Commissioner in Afghanistan – proposed the strategy and stressed that Islamabad is “an important regional player with whom to negotiate”.
“The pressure [on Pakistan] could severely destabilize the security situation throughout the region and lead to negative consequences for Afghanistan,” said the presidential representative of a news publication.
Before this, China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi – in a telephone call with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – called on the US to evaluate Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan.
“We must appreciate the important role of Pakistan in the Afghanistan issue and respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and reasonable security,” the diplomat said.