Pak-US cooperation imperative for regional peace: Foreign Office

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Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan Tuesday said in Islamabad that Pakistan has suspended defense and intelligence cooperation with the United States amid growing tensions over the USA suspension of military aid to Pakistan.

The briefing comes days after the United States suspended security aid to Pakistan and US President Donald Trump said the country had given the US "nothing but lies and deceit".

"Pakistan has the right to use available options if the US takes such measures against Pakistan and I think the government has come up with a mature response so far", Awan told Xinhua on Wednesday when asked about Pakistan's decision to suspend defense and intelligence cooperation.

"We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars, at the same time, they are housing the very terrorists we are fighting...that must change immediately", said Trump.

"We would like Pakistan to come to the table and assist us in this effort", he said adding that the suspension of security aid is not a cutoff and no funds have been reprogrammed.

The U.S. announced last Thursday it would not deliver military equipment or transfer security-related funds to Pakistan, suspending the so-called Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and Coalition Support Funds (CSF) but not civilian assistance to that country.

But statements from senior USA officials indicate that despite these limitations, the administration is serious in its stance that Pakistan needs to change its behavior.

Historically, Pakistan has faced the same type of criticism before regarding its counterterrorism efforts and providing of "safe havens" to terrorists from the past two White House administrations, with the Pakistani government staunchly refusing to ramp up their operational tempo when accused of aiding the Taliban's efforts.

Robin Raphel, a former assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, told VOA on Wednesday Washington and Islamabad's current policy of tit-for-tat will not advance either side's interest.

They were also briefed about the terrorist threat emanating from the safe havens and sanctuaries in Afghanistan, which is resulting in loss of human lives and damage to infrastructure in Pakistan. "The specific individual things we're doing are best handled in private, to ensure that we can be most productive - and that's what we're working now".

And a former United States ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson warned that the aid suspension would fail to force Pakistan to accept USA demands, as did two major U.S. newspapers - The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The report said that the announcement was made by Pakistan Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan during an address at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad on Tuesday.

Pakistan's defense minister had stated that Pakistan has not yet closed the air and ground networks of communication for the transportation of US supplies to their troops in Afghanistan.