Jan 022018

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is chairing a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) to discuss US President Donald Trump's most recent accusations against Pakistan.

In his first tweet of the new year, Trump had accused Pakistan of basing its relationship with the US on “nothing but lies and deceit”.

“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” the US president had said.

Pakistan's ambassador to the US has been summoned to the NSC meeting, which will look to discuss Pakistan's response to President Trump's fresh tirade while also reviewing the country's overall foreign policy, DawnNews reported.

Shortly before the meeting commenced, the military had finalised its suggestions for Pakistan's response to Trump's allegations in a Corps Commanders' Conference held at General Headquarters.

A meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security has also been called on January 5 to discuss the US's allegations.

Worsening relations

The US president's tweet had come in the aftermath of an increasingly terse back-and-forth between Washington and Islamabad since Trump announced his administration's latest national security strategy.

During the announcement, the US president had been quick to remind Pakistan of its 'obligation' to help America "because it receives massive payments" from Washington every year.

"We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help," the US president had said.

A Pentagon report to the US Congress, released to the media on Dec 17, had said Washington would also take 'unilateral steps' in areas of divergence with Pakistan while expanding cooperation between the two countries where their interests converge.

Subsequently, US Vice President Mike Pence had, in a surprise visit to Afghanistan's Bagram airbase on Dec 22, warned that Trump has "put Pakistan on notice" in what was the harshest US warning to Islamabad since the beginning of the Afghan war over 16 years ago.

Official sources had told Dawn last week that the Trump administration was also considering withholding $255 million from a fund meant to provide military training and equipment to Pakistan, adding to already existing cuts on reimbursements.

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