Pakistan regrets US ‘lack of appreciation’ for its anti-terror role

Islamabad, May 2 (IANS) A top Pakistani foreign affairs advisor on Monday regretted that the US was not duly appreciating the country’s struggle against the militants.

Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, conveyed the complaint to a two-member professional staff delegation of the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Congress in Islamabad.

The remarks came just days after the US halted financial aid to Pakistan for procurement of its eight F-16 fighter jets.

“During the meeting, a range of important issues were discussed and the Special Assistant particularly highlighted the fact that there was lack of sufficient appreciation for Pakistan’s whole-hearted efforts it was undertaking jointly with the US administration, in countering the threat posed by terrorism,” the foreign ministry said.

Topics concerning reduction in US defence and civilian assistance to Pakistan and Congressional hold on some already approved funds were also deliberated upon, a statement said.

Reduction of the US assistance was discussed after Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee stopped aid to Pakistan to get eight fighter aircraft.

The Obama administration planned to arrange $700 million for Pakistan to purchase eight F-16 from the US, the notification for which was made by the State Department to the US Congress in late 2015.

“The government and people of Pakistan also desired that Pakistan’s sincere efforts and sacrifices in confronting the serious security threats, in an increasingly complex regional situation, should be appreciated, at all levels,” Fatemi told the US lawmakers.

The US delegation did not directly mention halt to Pakistan aid but “reiterated that the efforts by the US to strengthen Pakistan’s capacity in its counter-terrorism efforts, through continued provision of military equipment and assistance with approval of the US Congress, was a testimony to the strength of Pakistan-US bilateral relations.”

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