Published: Mon, September 03, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Pentagon withdraws $300M in funding to Pakistan's military

Pentagon withdraws $300M in funding to Pakistan's military

Officials in Pakistan are downplaying the significance of a US military plan to cancel $300 million assistance to the country for not doing enough against terrorist groups inside its borders.

"Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, the remaining $300 million was reprogrammed", Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said in a statement on Saturday.

The Coalition Support Funds were part of a broader suspension in aid to Pakistan announced by President Donald Trump at the start of 2018, when trump accused Islamabad of rewarding past assistance with "nothing but lies & deceit". Another $500 million in CSF was stripped by Congress from Pakistan earlier this year, to bring the total withheld to $800 million. The top United States military officer in Pakistan, General Joseph Dunford, will accompany Pompeo, according to reports.

Pakistan denies the charge, saying it has conducted indiscriminate military operations against all armed groups operating on its soil.

Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, nearly two weeks after his visit to Pakistan, has revealed on Sunday that he recently received a message from Prime Minister Imran Khan.

That could be a factor in the Trump administration's apparent pique at Pakistan.

Earlier he told the BBC Urdu that the U.S.in principle should pay back the money to Pakistan because it was spent for a common objective to defeat militancy and create peace and stability.

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President Donald Trump has previously accused Pakistan of deceiving the USA while receiving billions of dollars. "Prime Minister (Imran Khan) has shown intent to improve ties with the U.S. but at the same time he is not ready to accept unjust demands", she said. But the US must avoid a total break with Islamabad given that Pakistan is a nuclear power.

In August, a row erupted between the two nations following a telephone call by Mr Pompeo to Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, as Islamabad took exception to the American version of the conversation that the issue of terrorism was discussed during the call.

Qureshi said that the upcoming visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other high officials was a "window of opportunity".

To a question about options for Pakistan to get the stopped funds, Mr. Qureshi said Pakistan will talk to the USA because the money was already spent by Pakistan. Pakistani Taliban groups, while associated with the Afghan Taliban, focus on attacks within Pakistan.

Referring to Modi's impromptu visit to Lahore in December 2015 to meet his then Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif, Sidhu said Modi visited there without any invitation, and that was because he understands "talks are the only way (forward)".

The US has been pressing Pakistan to "indiscriminately target" all terrorist groups, including the Haqqani Network. "With China, Pakistan already had good relations so Pakistan can not be isolated".

During the visit, Sidhu had hugged Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, triggering a torrent of criticism from the BJP and also from within his Congress party, including Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

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