Barely weeks into his term as Pakistan's Prime Minister, Imran Khan's government has once again been pressed into applying a spin to a terrorism-related crackdown initiated against it by the United States.
Imran Khan's foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who has been busy in lighting and putting out geopolitical fires involving Pakistan ever since coming into the post, has denied that the $300 million in military aid that the Pentagon has decided to cut was aid in the first place:
"It's not something that's been cut. This is not aid. This isn't some assistance that's been cut. This is money we've spent", said Qureshi, adding, "It's our money. We've spent it. For our own good. They were supposed to reimburse it."
He put forth that the US was within its rights to block future aid/reimbursement, but it was obliged to reimburse Pakistan for past outlays. Further, when he was asked whether it was a pressure tactic before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Pakistan this week, Qureshi said that only one side of the story was being put out, simply saying, "We will put our views forward."
Earlier, in a move that needs to be ratified by the US Congress, the US had announced that it would scrap $300 million military aid to Pakistan because it had failed to take decisive action to act on terror groups. The move came against the backdrop of increasing global pressure on Pakistan to act on terrorist elements operating from its soil. On the very first day of 2018, US President Trump had launched an unprecedented Twitter attack at Pakistan, stating that the US would cut all military aid on account of decades of 'lies and deceit' from Pakistan.
Following Imran Khan coming to power, US State Secretary Pompeo, and not Trump, had called Khan to congratulate him. In this conversation, as per the US State department's spokesperson, Pakistan had been implored to act on terror. When Pakistan denied this aspect of the phone call, the US stood by its statement.
Qureshi had earlier courted controversy by claiming that in his official communication with India there had been an offer to negotiate on various issues. India had then put out the true details of the communication, which also involved particulars of a letter from PM Modi, forcing Pakistan to issue a clarification.