It's time to end Pakistan's double game, says former U.S. envoy

Trump withholding $255M in aid to Pakistan, as he accuses country of giving 'safe haven' to terrorists

Pakistan promises 'cold-blooded' response to Trump's abrupt aid cut

Pakistan has "contributed and sacrificed the most in fighting global terrorism", alleged Lodhi, noting that Islamabad's role in the war against jihadist groups is not contingent upon USA aid but, rather, "national interests and principles".

The White House said it would likely announce actions to pressure Pakistan within days.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday said that Pakistan can survive without taking aid from the United States as it survived in the past [when USA had suspended assistance to Pakistan].

"There are clear reasons for this". Initially vague information on how much money and materiel was being withheld suggested the primary goal was to substantiate President Donald Trump's surprising New Year's Day tweet that accused Pakistan of playing US leaders for "fools".

"We know that Pakistan can do more to fight and stop terrorism and we want them to step up and do that. That game is not acceptable to this administration".

"On the face of it, President Trump's remarks about Pakistan show his complete disregard of ground facts and his rowdy insistence to push his foreign policy preferences through Twitter rather than the State Department on the other", Ghauri said.

In his first Tweet of the year on Monday, Trump accused Pakistan for lying to the United States and offering "little help" in hunting terrorists in Afghanistan. "No more!" Trump concluded in his first tweet of 2018.

Pakistani Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan returned criticism in a tweet noting that Islamabad "as anti-terror ally has given free to U.S.: land & air communication, military bases & intel cooperation that decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16yrs, but [the United States has] given us nothing but invective & mistrust".

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Pakistan denies that it provides safe haven to terrorists, often pointing to the operation launched in 2014 to clear groups such as the Haqqani network from the Waziristan border region with Afghanistan.

The U.S. relationship with Pakistan has ebbed and flowed over the course of the war in Afghanistan, getting most tense after U.S. special forces killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.

US assistance to Pakistan, which rose sharply after the 9/11 attacks, has been declining since 2011 when American commandos killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan, straining relations.

Responding to the oft-repeated allegations, Maj Gen Ghafoor, the military's media wing chief, said Pakistan had taken action against the Haqqani network. The US carried out some 60,000 attacks from Pakistani soil, it said.

Islamabad bristles at the suggestion it is not doing enough to fight militants, noting that its casualties at the hands of Islamists since 2001 number in the tens of thousands. The meeting, which lasted almost three hours, was brought forward by a day and followed an earlier meeting of army generals.

The withholding of the aid has been expected, particularly after Trump blasted Pakistan in a Monday tweet.

"Just a few weeks ago, Trump praised Pakistan for starting to 'respect the United States.' The incoherence of our Pakistan policy works against our interests because it undermines the power of our hypothetical stick or the sweetness of our purported carrots", she said. More importantly, the United States has interactions and relations with India, China, Afghanistan, and Iran in a negative sense-all countries that are neighbours and around Pakistan.

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