Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi today convened a high-level meeting of military and political leadership to devise a “combined response” to US President Donald Trump’s accusation of Pakistan being a “safe haven” for terrorists. Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee Zubair Hayat, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Chief ACM Sohail Aman, and Naval Chief Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah are among those who attended the meeting held at the PM House.
The national security meeting is being held to come up with a “combined response” to President Trump’s new stance regarding Afghanistan and South Asia, in which he has singled out Pakistan for its involvement in terrorism, Dawn News reported. “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” Trump had said in his speech on Monday. He demanded that Pakistan should “stop offering safe haven to agents of chaos” as he presented his policy for the 16-year-long war in Afghanistan in his first formal address as the commander-in-chief. Prime Minister Abbasi has yet to respond to the shift in US stance, the report noted.
US Ambassador David Hale called on Army Chief Gen Bajwa yesterday to brief him on the new South Asia policy of the US. Responding to the invective, the army chief had said: “We are not looking for any material or financial assistance from the US, but trust, understanding and [an] acknowledgment of our contributions.” On Tuesday, the day after Trump’s speech, Ambassador Hale also met Khawaja Asif and briefed him about America’s new policy in Afghanistan and South Asia.