ISLAMABAD (IANS) — Pakistan on Tuesday summoned the American Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad to protest against US President Donald Trump’s remarks that Islamabad had helped slain Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to hide in the country.
“The Foreign Secretary (Tehmina Janjua) called in the US Charge d’Affaires Ambassador Paul Jones to register a strong protest on the unwarranted and unsubstantiated allegations made against Pakistan,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“Rejecting the insinuations about bin Laden, (the) Foreign Secretary reminded the US Charge d’Affaires that it was Pakistan’s intelligence cooperation that provided the initial evidence to trace the whereabouts of bin Laden,” the statement added.
The Al Qaeda leader was killed in a US military operation at his Pakistani hideout in 2011, reports Efe news.
In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Trump accused the Pakistani government of hiding Laden in its territory and claimed that despite the US giving $1.3 billion annually to Islamabad, it had done nothing.
Janjua told the US envoy that the President’s rhetoric about Pakistan was “baseless” and “totally unacceptable”.
On Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected Trump’s accusation, saying Islamabad was used as a “scapegoat” by the US for its own failures in Afghanistan.
Khan’s reaction triggered more Twitter attacks from Trump.
“We no longer pay Pakistan the $Billions because they would take our money and do nothing for us. Bin Laden being a prime example, Afghanistan being another,” he tweeted.
In January, Washington announced the suspension of a major part of its security aid to Pakistan until Islamabad took “decisive” steps against terrorist groups such as the Taliban, which threaten “regional stability and American interests”.
Relations between the US and Pakistan, which began to strain in 2011, reached a new low in January when Trump suspended American security assistance to Islamabad over the alleged presence of Afghan militant groups in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Islamabad has rejected the charge as incorrect.
The Inter-Services Public Relations has said that the Coalition Support Fund received from the US was reimbursement of money spent for operations in support of the coalition in Afghanistan.