Days after Donald Trump accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorists, Pakistan on Tuesday suspended bilateral talks and visits with the United States.
According to Pakistani media reports, foreign minister Khawaja Asif informed a Senate committee that the government had to take such a decision as a protest against Donald Trump’s comments against Pakistan, during his speech on US’ Afghanistan-Pakistan policy.
According to the reports, Khawaja told the committee that Donald Trump was not willing to accept Pakistan’s stance that India is harbouring terror havens in Afghanistan to destabilise the country.
Khawaja’s statement is significant as he was supposed to visit the US last week but backed out.
A top US official’s visit to Islamabad was also postponed at the request of the Pakistan government amid anti-American protests in Karachi.
Pakistan’s Dawn on Sunday quoted US Embassy spokesman Rick Sinelsine as saying that the trip by Alice Wells, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State in-charge of South and Central Asia, was “postponed until a mutually convenient time” at the request of the Pakistani government.
On 22 August, President Donald Trump hit out at Pakistan for providing safe havens to “agents of chaos and terrorists.”
“For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict. And that could happen,” Trump said.
He said after a “comprehensive review”, it was decided that the American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically.
Trump said a pillar of his new strategy was a change in America’s approach to Pakistan.
“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond,” Trump said.
“Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbour terrorists,” he said, in a warning to Pakistan.