Parliamentary committee meeting to discuss Trump’s allegations against Pakistan underway

National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq is presiding over a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, which has been convened to discuss the allegations levelled by the United States against Islamabad.
The meeting on Thursday was called after US President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of basing its relationship with the US on “nothing but lies and deceit”.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” Trump had written in his tweet.
Addressing today’s committee at the start of the session, the NA speaker said that the meeting will also focus on matters concerning national security.
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“National security is a matter of the country’s survival. There is a need for unity on this issue,” Sadiq added.
After Sadiq’s remarks, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir began briefing the committee on Trump’s statements from the past week.
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed, Leader of the Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah and national security advisers have been invited to attend the meeting as well.
Leaders of parliamentary parties are also present.
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.
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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.
Earlier this week, the White House confirmed suspending $255 million of military aid to Pakistan, a move seen as the first step to implementing Trump’s pledge to tighten economic restrictions on Pakistan.