Pakistan's army chief told a top U.S. general the nation "felt betrayed" at criticism that it was not doing enough to fight terrorism, the military said on Friday, after U.S. President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of "lies and deceit".
Pakistan's army said in a statement that U.S. Central Command chief General Joseph Votel told General Qamar Javed Bajwa the United States was not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan.
"(Bajwa) said that entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed over U.S. recent statements despite decades of cooperation," the army said, referring to a conversation between Bajwa and Votel.
Ties between the United States and Pakistan worsened after Trump on Jan. 1 tweeted that Washington has got nothing but "lies and deceit" from Pakistan despite sending billions of dollars in aid.
US aid to Pakistan to be restored if conditions change: Mattis
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said on Friday that American aid to Pakistan could be restored if the powerful nuclear ally takes “decisive movements against terrorists.” Pakistan is a crucial gateway for U.S. military supplies destined for U.S. and other troops fighting a 16-year-old war in neighboring, landlocked Afghanistan.So far, the Pentagon says Pakistan has not given any indication that it would close its airspace or roads to military supplies, and U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis played down concerns on Friday.Mattis, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, said he was not concerned about America's ability to use Pakistan as a gateway to resupply U.S. forces in Afghanistan."I'm not concerned, no," Mattis told reporters, adding he had not gotten any indication from Pakistan that it might cut off those routes. Mattis traveled to the country last month."We're still working with Pakistan and we would restore the aid if we see decisive movements against the terrorists -- who are as much a threat against Pakistan as they are to us."Mattis also pointed out Pakistan’s own contributions to the fight against terrorism, echoing the State Department, which acknowledged Thursday that tens of thousands of Pakistani troops have been killed fighting the Pakistani Taliban, al-Qaida and Daesh in recent years.State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert announced Thursday that nearly all aid to Pakistan would be suspended after accusing the country of providing safe havens to terrorists fighting in Afghanistan.It includes $255 million in Foreign Military Funding for the 2016 fiscal year as mandated by Congress, she said.In addition, the Pentagon has suspended the entire $900 million of the Coalition Support Fund to Pakistan for fiscal 2017.US may suspend $2B in security aid to Pakistan: Reports
US places Pakistan on special 'watch list'
The U.S. has placed Pakistan on a special watch list for “severe violations of religious freedom” days after threatening to end security assistance payments to the country."We believe that the protection of religious freedom is vital to peace, stability and prosperity," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Thursday in a statement."In accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the Secretary of State annually designates governments that have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom as 'Countries of Particular Concern'". Washington’s decision on Pakistan came under the act.Nauert also said the U.S. has re-designated 10 other nations as “countries of particular concern”.Trump issues threats to Palestine, Pakistan, North Korea on Twitter“Today, we have re-designated #Burma, #China, #Eritrea, #Iran, #North Korea, #Sudan, #Saudi Arabia, #Tajikistan, #Turkmenistan, and #Uzbekistan as Countries of Particular Concern, and #Pakistan as part of a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom,” she said on Twitter.“These designations are aimed at improving respect for religious freedom in these countries,” she said in the statement.Today, we have re-designated #Burma, #China, #Eritrea, #Iran, #NorthKorea, #Sudan, #SaudiArabia, #Tajikistan, #Turkmenistan, and #Uzbekistan as Countries of Particular Concern, and #Pakistan as part of a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom.— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) 4 Ocak 2018 President Donald Trump said Monday in a tweet that the U.S. had “foolishly” given billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan, which in return had allegedly provided safe havens to terrorists fighting in Afghanistan. The charge was immediately denied by Islamabad.The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their “pockets.” The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 2 Ocak 2018 Pakistan expressed “deep disappointment” over the U.S. claims and said it was already doing a lot to fight militants. According to data released Tuesday by Pakistan, at least 62,421 lives, including 50,000 civilians and remaining security personnel, were lost from 2003 to 2017 during the war against terror, with a $123 billion loss to the country’s economy. "President Trump quoted a figure of $33 billion given to Pakistan over the last 15 years. He can hire a U.S.-based audit firm on our expense to verify this figure & let the world know who is lying & deceiving," Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said in a tweet Tuesday.Pres Trump quoted figure of $33billion given to PAK over last 15yrs,he can hire a US based Audit firm on our expense to verify this figure & let the world know who is lying & deceiving..— Khawaja M. Asif (@KhawajaMAsif) 2 Ocak 2018
Trump questions taking immigrants from 's***hole countries'
President Donald Trump on Thursday questioned why the United States would want to have immigrants from Haiti and African nations, referring to some as "s***hole countries," according to two sources familiar with the comments.Trump's remarks, made in the White House, came as Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham briefed the president on a newly drafted immigration bill being touted by a bipartisan group of senators, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified.Other government officials were present during the conversation, the sources said.The lawmakers were describing how certain immigration programs operate, including one to give safe haven in the United States to people from countries suffering from natural disasters or civil strife.One of the sources who was briefed on the conversation said that Trump said, "Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They're s***hole countries ... We should have more people from Norway."The second source familiar with the conversation, said Trump, who has vowed to clamp down on illegal immigration, also questioned the need for Haitians in the United States.Many Democrats and some Republican lawmakers slammed the president for his remarks.US judge blocks effort to end immigrant protectionsRepublican U.S. Representative Mia Love, a daughter of Haitian immigrants, said the comments were "unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation's values" and called on Trump to apologize to the American people and to the countries he denigrated.Another Republican Representative, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who was born in Cuba and whose south Florida district includes many Haitian immigrants, said: "Language like that shouldn't be heard in locker rooms and it shouldn't be heard in the White House."Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a frequent Trump critic, said the president's comment "smacks of blatant racism, the most odious and insidious racism masquerading poorly as immigration policy."In an apparent response to his critics, Trump took to Twitter late on Thursday night."The Democrats seem intent on having people and drugs pour into our country from the Southern Border, risking thousands of lives in the process," he tweeted."It is my duty to protect the lives and safety of all Americans. We must build a Great Wall, think Merit and end Lottery & Chain. USA!"TPS ProgramThe program that was being discussed at the White House is called Temporary Protected Status.In November, the Trump administration decided to end the status for immigrants from Haiti and Nicaragua. It gave the approximately 59,000 Haitian immigrants who had been granted the status until July 2019 to return home or legalize their presence in the United States. Nicaraguans were given until January 2019.This week, Trump moved to end the status for immigrants from El Salvador, which could result in 200,000 Salvadorans legally in the United States being deported, beginning in September of next year.The bipartisan Senate plan would attempt to maintain TPS in return for ending or changing a "diversity" lottery program that has been aimed at allowing up to 50,000 people a year from countries with few emigres to the United States.Asked about Trump's comments, White House spokesman Raj Shah said: "Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people.""Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation," Shah said.Another source familiar with the meeting said Trump was questioning why the United States should take in unskilled laborers from the countries under discussion and should instead welcome immigrants from nations that can offer skilled workers.Trump blasts court's ruling halting DACA's endTrump signals he could endorse immigration deal