Karachi – Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday highlighted Pakistan's efforts in the war against terrorism and for regional peace, saying the country "has done much more for peace in Afghanistan than any other country".
The statement comes a day after US President Donald Trump's continued tirade against Pakistan and its strong rebuttal by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
"Pakistan has successfully fought against terrorism while also contributing to regional peace," a tweeted by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor quoted the army chief as saying.
In an apparent reference to Trump’s remarks regarding alleged inaction on Pakistan's part on the Afghanistan issue, Gen Bajwa said Pakistan has "paid the highest military, economic, political and social cost and the world should acknowledge that".
"We shall continue to contribute towards peace in Afghanistan," the army chief said, "but Pakistan’s honour and Pakistan’s security shall always stay premier".
Prime Minister Khan had on Monday led the sharp reaction by political leaders to Trump’s rant against Pakistan by hinting at a review of foreign policy options and asking the US president to introspect on the real reasons for America’s failure in Afghanistan.
Trump, however, looked unwilling to end the row that began with his interview to Fox News on Sunday and followed Khan’s rejoinder with more tweets in which he repeated the allegations and insisted that the US was no more in a giving mood.
“Instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 140,000 Nato troops plus 250,000 Afghan troops & reportedly $1 trillion spent on war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before,” Khan said in one of his four tweets in response to Trump’s remarks.
President Trump, while talking about the reasons for ending the over-a-billion-dollar annual aid for Pakistan, said the country didn’t do “a damn thing for us”. He raked up allegations of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden having lived in Pakistan with relative ease.
“But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there,” Trump alleged.
PM Khan reminded Trump that Pakistan’s support for the US in the war on terror cost it 75,000 casualties and over $123 billion in financial losses, tribal areas were devastated because of terrorist attacks and millions of people were displaced because of counterterrorism operations that had to be carried out to reclaim the area from terrorists.
He recalled that Pakistan continued to provide “free lines of ground and air communications (GLOCs/ALOCs)” for providing supplies to the US and other coalition troops in Afghanistan. “Can Mr Trump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?” Khan questioned.