Monday , September 24 2018

US halts $300m fund for Pakistan’s military – Expect Pompeo exchanges

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

ISLAMABAD, Sept 3, (Agencies): Pakistan’s new government said he will “have exchanges” with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over Washington’s cancellation of a $300 million disbursement for the Pakistani military when he visits Islamabad on Wednesday.

Adopting a tougher line with an ally that US President Donald Trump considers unreliable, the United States halted the disbursement of Coalition Support Funds due to Islamabad’s perceived failure to take decisive action against Afghan Taleban militants operating from Pakistani soil. The United States has now withheld $800 million from the CSF so far this year.

The latest move comes just as the less-than-one month- old government of Prime Minister Imran Khan faces a looming balance of payments crisis that could force it to seek a fresh bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), or other lenders. “On the 5th, the American (secretary of state) Pompeo will be arriving, and we will have a chance to sit down with him. There will be exchanges,” Qureshi told reporters late on Sunday night.

“We will take our mutual respect for each other into consideration and move forward,” he added. Qureshi argued that the US was not justified in cutting the $300 million because it was intended to reimburse Pakistan’s military for money spent fighting the Taleban and other militants threatening US troops in Afghanistan.

“It is not aid. It is not assistance, which was suspended. This the money, which we have spent. This is our money. We have spent it,” Qureshi said. “We did it for our betterment, which they had to reimburse.” Officially allies in fighting terrorism, Pakistan and the United States have a complicated relationship, bound by Washington’s dependence on Pakistan to guarantee a supply route for US troops in Afghanistan

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