Published: Mon, September 03, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

United States military to cancel over $300 million in aid to Pakistan

United States military to cancel over $300 million in aid to Pakistan

Some analysts warn there may be no real way to pressure Islamabad and say a suspension in aid could see the U.S. lose crucial influence over Pakistan which will instead look to other countries for support, particularly its longtime ally China.

On Saturday, a spokesperson for the Pentagon said that "due to a lack of decisive actions in support of the South Asia strategy, the remaining $300m was reprogrammed", withdrawing for good a previous offer to unfreeze the funds if Pakistan took decisive action against militant groups. "This is not a new decision or a new announcement, but an acknowledgement of a July request to reprogramme funds before they expire", he said.

Pakistan denies the charge, saying it has conducted indiscriminate military operations against all armed groups operating on its soil. "You take one step and we will take two", Sidhu said, referring to Imran Khan.

The aid originally earmarked for Pakistan will now be spent on "other urgent priorities", according to Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner. Pentagon officials say that they are seeking Congressional approval to spend the money elsewhere, though they declined to say on what.

He said another $500 million in CSF was stripped by Congress from Pakistan earlier this year, to bring the total withheld to $800 million.

Mere days ahead of a short visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pakistan, the US Department of Defence has announced a permanent aid cut to Pakistan of $300m. State Department said the USA was suspending "security assistance" to Pakistan as the trust level between the two countries drastically declined. "We will listen to him and present our point of view to him as well", he said.

"If they don't want to reimburse for future spending, it may be different thing".

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The chairman of Pakistan's senate foreign relations committee, Mushahid Hussain, said the proposed cuts were "a sop to India".

Global relations expert Huma Baqai said the Pakistan-US ties had deteriorated like 'never before.' "We still have a chance as Pompeo and Dunford are coming for talks".

"Sportsmen or cricketers - be it Wasim Akram, Sachin Tendulkar or Virat Kohli - or artists like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. they associate with people and I too went to Pakistan with this hope only", he said.

The issue of combatting terrorism is expected to be raised by Pompeo during his talks with Khan in Islamabad this week.

"There are two sides of a picture".

He added that there is a trust deficit between Pakistan and the U.S. but the government wants to improve the ties and build trust between the two countries. "Rather, it was the reimbursement of expenditures which we incurred while fighting war on terror".

"This is not something that we were not expecting", a senior Pakistani security official told VOA on condition of anonymity, citing continued deterioration in bilateral ties.

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