The Trump administration announced to Congress that it has provided Pakistan with $225 million worth of military aid that it can access only under the condition that it does its part in fighting terrorism on its soil. This declaration comes more than a week after US President Donald Trump lashed out against Pakistan for giving sanctuary and breeding grounds for terrorist outfits and militants that act against US interests in neighboring Afghanistan. He warned Islamabad that would face great losses if it did not change its ways.
This military aid was likened to an escrow account in the White House’s communication to Congress. An escrow account is a deposit where the funds are denied until the prerequisite conditions are fulfilled. This comes at a time when ties between Washington and Islamabad are amongst their lowest in decades. Pakistan has called off at least three high profile meetings with top US officials including a visit of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif to Washington to meet US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The Pakistani parliament adopted a resolution saying that the recent statements by President Trump and his administration were threatening and hostile. The US Department of State has announced that Trump’s promised changes to America’s Pakistan policy will result in “explicit” conditions on further military assistance.
The $225 million in military aid was the biggest part of the $1.1 billion in assistance authorized by the US Congress in 2016 that also included money for anti-drug operations and healthcare. The US has given Pakistan more than $33 billion in assistance since 2002. If the US Department of State failed to announce to Congress in the coming weeks of its expenditure interests then it would be given back to the US Treasury.
Earlier Pakistani officials and military generals reacted adversely to block Trump’s attempts to blackmail Pakistan by threatening to cut off aid by saying that they were not after American money and also that US financial assistance did not make much of a difference in Pakistan’s fight against militancy, arguing that it was Pakistan that was footing much of the bill anyway. Pakistani army chief Lieutenant General Bajwa said that Pakistan did not want American cash but rather that it demanded respect for its sacrifices in the War on Terror that it was dragged into after 9/11. China has also echoed similar sentiments in its reaction to the earlier threats.