NEW YORK: Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan has criticized the U.S. suspension of security aid to Pakistan, saying the move has emasculated the war on terror in the region.
“By choosing castigation over cooperation, the U.S. has emasculated the war on terror in this region,” he was quoted as saying in an interview with The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), a major American financial newspaper.
Dastgir Khan’s comments are part of the Journal’s dispatch from Islamabad, headlined: ‘With U.S. Aid Cut, Pakistan Drifts Closer to China’.
As regional alliances shift in the wake of U.S. actions against Pakistan, the dispatch wrote, ‘China jumped in with statements supportive of Pakistan, as did Iran and Turkey; Pakistan has also improved its relationship in recent years with another American antagonist, Russia, setting up Islamabad with a quartet of alternative allies who have tense or adversarial relationships with Washington.”
“Punishing Pakistan pushes it towards America’s major adversaries,” the defence minister said.
Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has already declared the Pakistan-US partnership to be over. “We do not have any alliance,” Asif told the Journal last week.
The WSJ dispatch refers to the strengthening Sino-Pakistan ties, saying, “China has already invested heavily in a relationship that is redefining the balance of power in Asia, anchored by a $55 billion-plus infrastructure program that aims in part to boost Pakistan’s economy in part as a counterweight against their common competitor, India.”
Pakistan, the report added, also believed that it is key to any eventual peace deal to end the war in Afghanistan. “If America distances itself from Pakistan, any reconciliation is not possible in Afghanistan without Pakistan sitting at that table,” Dastgir Khan, the defense minister, said.