Pakistan Calls Trump’s Conditional Aid Of $225 Million “Peanuts”
The Trump administration notified Congress on Wednesday that it was putting USD 255 million in military assistance to Pakistan into the equivalent of an escrow account that Islamabad can only access if it does more to crack down on internal terror networks, launching attacks on neighbouring Afghanistan, The New York Times reported.
An escrow account is an account of conditional deposition, where the funds are kept blocked until the pre-agreed conditions are met. The move comes at a time when the relationship between the two countries have strained.
US-Pakistan Relationship Strained
Pakistan has cancelled at least three high profile meetings with senior American officials, including a visit of Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif to the US to meet Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
In the US, President Donald Trump's policy announcement last week, he had hit out at Pakistan saying that it was providing safe havens to terror groups that kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. This did not go too well with Pakistan, which has accused the US of making unjustified allegations.
Pakistan Not Thrilled
Pakistan also does not seem too pleased with Trump’s grant. The US has given Pakistan "peanuts" and not "billions of dollars" in aid, said the country's former Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan on Wednesday.
"It's not billions of dollars, it is peanuts," the former Interior Minister said while speaking in the National Assembly. He said that Pakistan was not responsible for the failure of US and its allies in Afghanistan, which he later attributed to the US plan to impose India on Afghanistan.
He also asked the Pakistani government to conduct an audit of US aid recieved in the last 10 years to “expose” American claims, Dawn newspaper reported.
Nisar Ali Khan said that the Coalition Support Fund paid by Washington is for the services rendered by Islamabad in the fight againt terrorism.
"The US drags its feet during the payment of the military fund, Khan said adding, "If our bill (for military services) is $500 million, they (the US) sit on it for months... and end up giving us $200 million.
A Way Forward
Khan blamed the US for ruining Pakistan's roads, airspace and country but not being willing to pay for the expenses. He said US was able to point fingers because Pakistan had not kept a proper record of American assistance.
He said that all institutions should be united in responding to the new US policy, adding that a statement with arguments should be prepared, in which US allegations of terrorist networks and the matter of US aid are addressed. He also stated that a way forward should be cleared by the Foreign Ministry:
“You (US) give us the evidence, we will clear (the matter).”
With Agency inputs.
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