Pakistan can review cooperation with US if it is not appreciated, says Maleeha Lodhi
Referring to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley’s comments a day earlier where she had accused Pakistan of playing a “double game” with the US, Lodhi cautioned against “shifting the blame for [the US’] own mistakes and failures onto others”. Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Lodhi said that Pakistan has “contributed and sacrificed the most in fighting international terrorism”. The diplomat added that Pakistan’s role in the war against terrorism did not depend on US aid but on “national interests and principles”. Worsening relations A war of words was triggered after Trump, in his first tweets on New Year’s day, lashed out against Pakistan, calling the country a “liar”. Elaborating on Trump’s tweets, Haley on Tuesday said that the US had withheld $255 million of military aid to Pakistan for the latter’s alleged “harbouring of terrorists”. On the same day, US Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at a press briefing that a detailed policy will be announced within the next 24-48 hours. The US president’s tweets evoked a strong response from the Pakistani civil and military leadership. The Foreign Office (FO) sought an explanation from American ambassador David Hale while the country’s leadership expressed “deep disappointment” at the accusations levelled by the US president in a National Security Council meeting on Tuesday. “... even more importantly the huge sacrifices made by Pakistan, including the loss of tens of thousands of lives ... could not be trivialised so heartlessly by pushing all of it behind a monetary value – and that too an imagined one,” a press release issued after the meeting in Islamabad said, in a reference to Trump’s claim that the US has “foolishly” given Pakistan over $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif claimed that Pakistan had already “said ‘no more’ to Ameri-
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Maleeha Lodhi condemned the United States (US) administration’s aggressive remarks against Pakistan and said that Islamabad could “review its cooperation if it is not appreciated”.