Since January 2018, Trump has been furious with Pakistan and decided to scrap military Aid to the country. The relations between Pakistan and the US has been tense and reached to the new levels of bitterness.
Since January, there was a lull and in September the long pause broke when the US reiterated its decision of suspending military aid of $300 million to Pakistan.
Nevertheless, Pakistan claimed that the said $300 million aid wasn’t a military aid rather the US owed the money to Islamabad for its support in the war on terror which the US was supposed to recompense it.
The US announced that it will cancel $300 million (£230m) in military aid to Pakistan over its failure to take ‘decisive actions’ to support President Donald Trump’s new South Asia policy and act against terror groups like the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The announcement comes just days before Pompeo is due to visit Pakistan to meet the country’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan. The US and others have long complained that Pakistan provides safe haven to militant networks Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Since President Donald Trump assumed office last year, he has been tough on Pakistan over its inaction against terror groups, saying Washington has got ‘nothing but lies & deceit’ in return for millions of dollars in aid over the years.
In August 2017 when Trump unveiled his new South Asia policy, he asked Pakistan to do more against such groups. Moreover, in the history of the US – Pakistan honeymoon, Trump is the first US president who is trying to coerce Pakistan into abandoning its decades-long strategy of supporting militants to its west (Afghanistan) and east (Indian Kashmir).
Earlier this year the US Congress stripped $500m (£365m) in coalition support funds from Islamabad, meaning it has now removed $800m (£616m) in total.
The Trump administration has claimed that Pakistan is granting safe haven to insurgents who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighboring Afghanistan, a charge the country has denied.
Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner reacted on the issue, “Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy the remaining $300 million was reprogrammed.” Further, Faulkner added that money will be spent on ‘other urgent priorities’ if approved by Congress.
Soon after Imran Khan took the reins of the country, Trump came back into action owing to the rumors that Khan would remain tolerant of terror groups including the Taliban and the notorious Haqqani network.
Khan has repeatedly blamed Pakistan’s participation in the US-led anti-terror campaign for the surge in terrorism on home soil over the last decade and has vowed to rebalance Islamabad’s relationship with Washington.
He has also shown a willingness to hold talks with militant groups and sought support from religious hardliners in the run-up to elections, a move that prompted critics to christen him ‘Taliban Khan’.
When in opposition, Khan has criticized the USA conditional aid, which according to Khan requires the Pakistani state to prioritize US national security interests over its own, a view that accords largely with that of Pakistan’s powerful security forces. Khan’s vision is to take Pakistan out of loans and aid culture.
As stated by Raza Rumi, a visiting scholar and lecturer at New York’s Cornell University and editor of Pakistan’s Daily Times, “Khan’s focus will be firmly on the domestic agenda — on human development and reform — and he will very much let the military define the national ¬security.”
Unfortunately, Khan inherits a country badly in need of money, most immediately $3bn to avoid defaulting on loans from the International Monetary Fund, China and the World Bank.
The previous administration is understood to have drawn up a proposal for a $12bn bailout package from the IMF.
The road for Prime Minister Khan is quite thorny amid the US suspension of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) but he does have an alternate in the form of CPEC and China. Pakistan will do better if Khan takes the courage to reform it.