Pakistan felt betrayed over recent American statements: COAS Bajwa tells top US commander

  • “We won’t ask for restoration of financial assistance but honourable recognition of our contributions,” says the army chief
  • General Joseph Votel says the US is not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan
Pakistan

RAWALPINDI – Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said Pakistan shall continue its sincere counter terrorism efforts even without US financial support in accordance with our national interest while being committed to bring it to its logical conclusion along with other stakeholders.

The army chief received two phone calls from US Centcom Commander General Joseph Votel and one from a US senator over the week to discuss Pak-US security cooperation following President Donald Trump’s tweet, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Friday.

According to the ISPR, the COAS said that the entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed over recent US statements despite decades of cooperation.

Accordingly, Pakistan’s unanimous national response reflected the same sentiments.

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The ISPR quoted the COAS as saying that Pakistan has suffered hugely due to great power contestation in the region. “We are fully aware of US concerns on activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and we are already undertaking multiple actions through Operation Raddul Fasaad to deny any residual capacity to terrorists of all hue and colour for which return of Afghan refugees is an essential prerequisite.”

“Pakistan is also strengthening border controls unilaterally but if Afghanistan genuinely feels affected from Pakistan, bilateral border management must be Kabul’s top priority as well,” Gen Bajwa said.

Trump, in a New Year tweet, accused Pakistan of lies and deceit. “They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” he said on January 1. His remarks led to tense relations between Pakistan and the US.

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Later, on January 5, Washington announced that it was suspending the transfer of military equipment and security-related funds to Pakistan.

According to the ISPR, General Votel apprised the army chief about the US decision regarding the US security assistance and coalition support fund.

“The general said that the US values Pakistan’s role towards the war on terror and expected that the ongoing turbulence remains a temporary phase,” the ISPR said.

He also conveyed to the army chief that the US is not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan but is seeking cooperation to tackle Afghan nationals who, in his view, use Pakistan’s soil against Afghanistan, the ISPR informed.

“This view, he felt, was undermining in Washington Pakistan’s contributions in the war against terrorism,” the ISPR statement added further.

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The top general reiterated that Pakistan will not seek resumption of aid but expect honourable recognition of our contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in fight against terrorism for peace and stability in the region. COAS Bajwa further said that Pakistan will keep supporting all initiatives for peace in Afghanistan despite the tendency to scapegoat Pakistan, as peace in Afghanistan is the only way to move towards enduring peace and stability in the region.

General Votel acknowledged the effectiveness of some of the recent actions taken by Pakistan to ensure that Pakistan’s hospitality to Afghan refugees is not misused in anyway. He also agreed that both countries stand to gain from cooperative engagement.