General

Haven’t come to US to ask for aid: Shah Mahmood

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday said the purpose of his visit to the US was not to seek aid but build deteriorating ties between the two countries.
“I am not here to talk dollars and cents, I am not here seeking aid,” Qureshi said in an interview with Fox News.
The foreign minister said Pakistan wants to fix ‘a relationship that went sour – a relationship that has mutually-benefited both sides.’
“We have been allies for a long time, it is time to rebuild that powerful relationship,” Qureshi said.
Talking about Dr Shakil Afridi, the foreign minister said the issue could be discussed with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Afridi’s future, Qureshi further said, lies not with politics but with the courts.
“We have a legal process. Afridi went through that legal process, he was given a fair chance to plead his case. He was sentenced, he was convicted and is serving a sentence,” Qureshi added. “We expect you to respect our legal process, as we respect yours.”
Qureshi represented Pakistan at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week. He is scheduled to meet Pompeo in Washington on Tuesday.
Last month, the US made the final decision to cancel another $300 million in aid to Pakistan that had been halted over what the former claims is the latter’s failure to take decisive action against militants.
The so-called Coalition Support Funds (CSF) were part of a broader suspension in aid to Pakistan announced by US President Donald Trump at the start of the year when he accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with “nothing but lies & deceit.”
The US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who had an opportunity to authorise the said $300 million in CSF funds through this summer — if he saw concrete Pakistani actions to go after insurgents — chose not to do so, despite some US officials having held out the possibility that Islamabad could win back that support if it changed its behaviour.
“Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy the remaining $300 (million) was reprogrammed,” Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner, the spokesperson, said, adding that the Pentagon aimed to spend this money on “other urgent priorities” if approved by US Congress.
Faulkner said another $500 million in CSF was stripped by the Congress from Pakistan earlier this year, which brings the total withheld funds to $800 million.