ISLAMABAD – Pakistan summoned on Tuesday the United States Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad to protest against US President Donald Trump’s remarks that Pakistan had helped al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden hide in the country.
Trump’s criticism, questioning Pakistan’s role in the war on terror, has sparked an angry reaction from the Pakistani government.
“The Foreign Secretary (Tehmina Janjua) called in the US CdA Ambassador Paul Jones to register a strong protest on the unwarranted and unsubstantiated allegations made against Pakistan,” the Pakistan foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Rejecting the insinuations about OBL, (the) Foreign Secretary reminded the US CdA that it was Pakistan’s intelligence cooperation that provided the initial evidence to trace the whereabouts of OBL,” the statement added, referring to Osama Bin Laden.
The al-Qaeda leader was killed in a US military operation at his Pakistani hideout in 2011.
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.”