US sanctions would be counter-productive | The Daily Star
01:24 AM, September 13, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:28 AM, September 13, 2017

US sanctions would be counter-productive

Warns Pak PM after Trump sets out Afghan policy

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said 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.

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.

Abbasi, 58, told Reuters that any targeted sanctions by Washington against Pakistani military and intelligence officials would not help US counter-terrorism efforts.

Washington's civilian and military assistance to Pakistan was less than $1 billion in 2016, down from a recent peak of $3.5 billion in 2011, and Abbasi warned that Washington will not achieve its counter-terrorism aims by starving Pakistan of funds.

"If the military aid cuts degrade our effort to fight war on terror, who does it help?" he said. "Whatever needs to be done here, it needs to be a cooperative effort."

Abbasi said one practical side-effect of military aid cuts and US Congress blocking the sale of subsidised F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan will be to force Islamabad to buy weapons from China and Russia.

Meanwhile, Russia has hailed the Xiamen Brics declaration and its naming of Pakistan-based terror groups as a victory for countries concerned about terrorism in the region.

Despite it being seen as defending Pakistan from pressure exerted on the latter by the US on the issue, Moscow's position on Islamabad has been quite nuanced as official sources here confirmed Russia worked actively with Beijing to convince it to drop its opposition to name-checking Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohamed (JeM).

The naming of these terror groups was seen by Indian officials as a major diplomatic breakthrough in Xiaman as Beijing had stalled all such attempts by both Russia and India during last Brics summit in Goa.

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