Pakistan PM warns US sanctions would be counter-productive
Image source: Wikimedia Commons Photograph: (Others)
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Monday (September 11) it would be counter-productive for the United States to sanction Pakistani officials or further cut military assistance, warning it would hurt both countries' fight against militancy.
US-Pakistan relations have frayed since President Donald Trump last month set out a new Afghanistan policy and lashed out at nuclear-armed Pakistan as a fickle ally that gives safe haven to "agents of chaos" by harbouring the Afghan Taliban and other militants.
The United States has already begun conditioning future aid to Pakistan on progress Islamabad makes in tackling the Haqqani network militants who it alleges are Pakistan-based and have helped the Taliban carry out deadly attacks inside Afghanistan.
Pakistan denies hosting militant sanctuaries, and Islamabad bristles at claims it has not done enough to tackle militancy, noting it has borne the brunt of violence in the so-called war on terror, suffering more than 60,000 casualties since 2001.
Former petroleum minister Abbasi, 58, who was installed as prime minister last month after the Supreme Court ousted veteran premier Nawaz Sharif over undeclared income, told Reuters that any targeted sanctions by Washington against Pakistani military and intelligence officials would not help US. counter-terrorism efforts.
The Trump administration's tougher stance is seen as pushing Islamabad closer to Beijing, which has pledged about $60 billion in roads, rail and power infrastructure in Pakistan as part of its ambitious Belt and Road initiative to build vast land and sea trade routes linking Asia with Europe and Africa.