ISLAMABAD: After Pentagon said that it had sought Congressional assent to reprogramme USD 300 million of its Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for Pakistan because of its "lack of" decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, Islamabad has defended itself.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that it is not some aid that the US is planning to cancel but it is in fact a payment of the expenses that it has incurred on war against terrorism.
"It is not a cut in any [US] aid, it is not assistance. This is our own money which we have used for improving regional security situation and they had to reimburse it to us," Qureshi said.
The US considering suspension of the CSF is likely to further strain the US-Pak relationship, which comes ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visit to Islamabad.
However, Qureshi said that they will take up the matter with the US during his visit on Wednesday. "We will sit with him, present our point of view and exchange ideas. We have several combined interest ... we will take our mutual respect for each other into consideration and move forward," he said.
The US has been pressing Pakistan to "indiscriminately target" all terrorist groups, including the Haqqani Network. Pentagon spokesman Lt Col Kon Faulkner said since January, US has consistently engaged with Pakistani military officials at the highest levels to defeat all terrorist groups that threaten regional stability. He said that there have also been discussions on a shared vision of a peaceful future for Afghanistan.
"We continue to press Pakistan to indiscriminately target all terrorist groups, including the Haqqani Network an LeT, and we continue to call on Pakistan to arrest, expel or bring the Taliban leadership to the negotiating table," he said.
He said that the 2018 DoD Appropriations Act, published on March 23, details USD 500 million was rescinded by the Congress. Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, the remaining USD 300 million was reprogrammed by the Department of Defense (DoD) in July 2018 time frame for other urgent priorities before the funds expire on September 30, he said.
The department is awaiting congressional determination on whether this reprogramming request will be approved or denied. "The DoD will have a congressional response before September 30, 2018, to allow the DoD to implement the reprogramming actions," the spokesman said.