US cancels major military aid to Pakistan

Already locked in a deep financial crisis, the newly-elected Imran Khan government in Pakistan, has received a big jolt withthe United States of America has decided to cancel a $300 million (approximately Rs 2130.15 crore) aid on the grounds that Pakistan has failed to take necessary actions against terrorism.

Earlier, the military aid was temporarily suspended, but now  the US military has said that it has taken a final decision to cancel the aid to Pakistan over “Islamabad’s perceived failure to take decisive action against militants”. According to a news report, the US is unhappy with Pakistan and the Trump administration has said that Pakistan is granting safe haven to insurgents.

The $300 million military aid was part of the Coalition Support Funds (CSF). But earlier this year US President Donald Trump announced suspension of various other funds for Pakistan and the CSF was part of it. In the latest development, the aid has been totally cancelled.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has refused to give the necessary certification to the Congress that Pakistan has taken strong steps against terrorist groups like the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba, following which the Department of Defence (DoD) reprogrammed $800 million CSF destined for Pakistan.  Pakistan has received more than $33 billion in U.S. assistance since 2002, including more than $14 billion in CSF.

Earlier in April, US had expressed concern over terrorist groups continuing to enjoy safe haven in Pakistan and asked the country to do more against “externally oriented” extremist outfits. In 2017, the Trump administration had made its stand clear to Pakistan over harbouring terrorists.

Announcing his Afghanistan policy, Trump said that America needs to change its approach in dealing with Pakistan, “We cannot be silent about Pakistan’s safe haven for terror groups.” Identifying Pakistan as a refuge state to terrorism the President had said, “Pakistan often gives safe havens to agents of chaos, violence and terror.”

Last month, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar had said that the country needs at least $9 billon to meet the current account deficit. He said that no decision has been taken whether to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout.

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