Pakistan Suspends Intelligence And Defence Cooperation With US; Washington Denies

Islamabad: Pakistan has suspended all intelligence and defence cooperation with the United States (US), said its defence minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan on Tuesday, reported The News International. The Pakistan minister came down heavily on the US for questioning Islamabad’s role in bringing peace in Afghanistan and said the suspension of military aid by the US has no importance.

“US military aid suspension to Pakistan has no importance. At the same time, strategic dialogue between the two countries has also faced suspension for last two years. High-level dialogues with the US would not work until resumption and consistency in working level dialogues,” Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan was quoted as saying. However, it’s unclear whether the minister’s comment is the official position as he was speaking at a public talk entitled “Contours of Security Environment in Pakistan”.

Slamming the US for asking Pakistan to act more on terrorism, Khan said sacrifices of Pakistan in the war against terrorism were above board and it would not allow anyone to make it a scapegoat and bring Afghan war on its soil. “America needs to deal with that ungoverned area before it points fingers towards Pakistan’s role in Afghan peace process,” he said, adding that it was high time for Pakistan to have ‘ruthlessly candid dialogue’ with the US with everything on the table.

The US Embassy in Islamabad, however, denied Pakistan’s claims. “We have not received any formal communication regarding a suspension,” Richard Snelsire, the US embassy spokesman in Islamabad, told the VOA. Steven Goldstein, a senior US State Department official, also said that he was not aware of any such development. He further emphasised that the US’s suspension of aid to Pakistan was just that – a suspension – and not an end to aid.

The US recently blocked 255 million dollars in military aid to Pakistan and accused Islamabad of playing ‘double game’. “The (US) administration is withholding 255 million dollars in assistance to Pakistan” because its “double game” of working with the US at times and with terrorists at others,” US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley said last week. The development followed an angry tweet from President Donald Trump on Monday that the United States had been rewarded with “nothing but lies and deceit” for “foolishly” giving Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid in the last 15 years.